News / Africa

Swaziland Group Calls For Election Boycott

Peter Clottey
The leader of Swaziland’s People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO) has called on international election observers to boycott this year’s national elections.

“We are calling on countries not to respect the outcome of these elections and we want the international poll observers to boycott the election because no election shall be free in the absence of political parties,” said Mario Masuku.

Masuku called the election a charade and a mockery of democracy and an affront to Swazis. He said the balloting does not allow Swazis to freely choose their representatives in the southern African kingdom.

“These are not elections, they are just mere selections, because people are going [to parliament] on their so-called merit,” said Masuku.                                   

He says members of his group are unlikely to participate in the vote.

“We are on a campaign right now to boycott the national election, to call for a true dialogue towards a national constitution that is truly democratic,” said Masuku.

Elections are held every five years in the nation where King Mswati III is the absolute monarch.

The government has not yet announced a date for the elections but some analysts say the balloting could be held between August and October.   Political parties are banned in Swaziland, though the constitution allows freedom of association and assembly.

Following the 2008 vote, the Commonwealth election monitoring team, declared that the voting was flawed and urged Swaziland to rewrite its constitution, if the country wanted to “ensure that Swaziland’s commitment to political pluralism is unequivocal.”

The Commonwealth poll group issued a report saying “it is widely accepted internationally that democracy includes the right of individuals to associate with and support the political party of their choice…  Yet in practice this right currently does not exist [in Swaziland].”

The government has repeatedly accused members of PUDEMO of plotting to destabilize the country, a charge the group denies.

Masuku says his group wants a national dialogue to chart a course for democracy with a credible government that has a mandate from the people.

“We are aware that we are dealing with an obstinate institution. They are not prepared to come for dialogue, but we will always call for it wherever we go and whoever we meet in the international community.  PUDEMO is ready for a national dialogue for a peaceful democratic Swaziland,” said Masuku.

“We also know,” he continued, “that no dictator will be ready to discuss or hold dialogue [about] his going out of power. But we are saying violence is not the best way of transforming a country into a peaceful and democratic state.”
Clottey interview with Mario Masuku, PUDEMO president
Clottey interview with Mario Masuku, PUDEMO presidenti
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X

You May Like

Sydney Hostage-taker Failed to Manipulate Social Media

Gunman forced captives to use personal Facebook, YouTube accounts to issue his demands; online community helped flag messages, urged others not to share them More

UN Seeks $8.4 Billion to Help War-Hit Syrians

Effort aimed at helping Syrians displaced within their own country and those who've fled to neighboring ones More

Who Are the Pakistani Taliban?

It's an umbrella group of militant organizations whose objective is enforcement of Sharia in Pakistan 'whether through peace or war' 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.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid