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)
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

Photogallery US to Send 3,000 Troops to Liberia in Expanded Ebola Effort

At US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Obama is to announce troop deployment, other details of US plans to fight Ebola outbreak More

Hong Kong Democracy Calls Spread to Macau

Macau and Hong Kong are China’s two 'special administrative regions' which gives them a measure of autonomy More

Kenyan Coastal Town Struggles With Deadly June Attacks

Three months after al-Shabab militants allegedly attacked their town, some Mpeketoni residents are still bitter, question who was really behind the assaults 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.
Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Communityi
X
September 16, 2014 2:06 PM
Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid