News / Africa

Opposition Groups Call for Swaziland Election Boycott

King of Swaziland Mswati III (Front) and one of his 13 wives disembark from a plane after arriving at Katunayake International airport in Colombo, Sri Lanka, August 13, 2012. (Reuters)King of Swaziland Mswati III (Front) and one of his 13 wives disembark from a plane after arriving at Katunayake International airport in Colombo, Sri Lanka, August 13, 2012. (Reuters)
x
King of Swaziland Mswati III (Front) and one of his 13 wives disembark from a plane after arriving at Katunayake International airport in Colombo, Sri Lanka, August 13, 2012. (Reuters)
King of Swaziland Mswati III (Front) and one of his 13 wives disembark from a plane after arriving at Katunayake International airport in Colombo, Sri Lanka, August 13, 2012. (Reuters)
TEXT SIZE - +
Peter Clottey
The leader of Swaziland’s banned opposition People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO) has called on citizens to boycott this year’s national elections.

Mario Masuku says elections in Swaziland are part of the government’s plan to prevent the population from demanding multiparty democracy in the southern African kingdom.

He says the administration in Mbabane has so far refused to adhere to both the United Nations and the African Union’s declaration of fundamental rights in elections, which allows citizens to freely elect their leaders.

“Therefore any national elections that are not democratic are not worth the practice,” Masuku said. “And we call on the people to boycott such elections, and call for a democratic dispensation where all the ground is level. Any person who comes to observe this must first state what are the condition, is Swaziland a democratic state? Before they say [the elections] are free and fair.”

But Deputy Prime Minister Themba Masuku accused groups calling for the elections boycott of being cowards.

The Times of Swaziland newspaper quoted the deputy prime minister as saying “If you go about writing graffiti and forcing people to follow you, it is a sign of cowardice.” 

But, opposition groups have often pressed the government to ensure more democratic reforms as well as to allow the formation and participation of political parties in elections.

Political observers say the government is unlikely to meet opposition demands for multiparty democracy in the kingdom.

PUDEMO leader Masuku says the government has often thwarted efforts by groups to educate citizens about democracy.

“People are told that if you don’t participate in the elections you are not patriotic, and so forth, and they will indeed go to form a government. But, we all know that that parliament has no power. All the power is vested in the king, and the people of Swaziland have no power,” said PUDEMO’s Masuku. 

Swaziland currently prohibits the formation of political parties. It also allows King Mswati III to appoint 20 members of the 30-member Upper House of parliament, with 10 appointed by members of the national House of Assembly (parliament).

The king also appoints 10 out of the 65 members of the National House of Assembly, while citizens vote for the remaining 55 members.

“Where in any democratic state where groupings are not allowed to participate in elections? “…We are saying these national elections are undemocratic,” said Masuku.
Clottey interview with Mario Masuku, PUDEMO president
Clottey interview with Mario Masuku, PUDEMO presidenti
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X

You May Like

Multimedia Relatives of South Korean Ferry Victims Fire at Authorities

46 people are confirmed dead, but some 250 remain trapped inside sunken ferry More

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

$84 million project aims to clean up soil contaminated by Agent Orange More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid