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

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Judge Declares Washington DC Ban on Public Handguns Unconstitutional

Ruling overturns capital city's prohibition on carrying guns in pubic More

Pricey Hepatitis C Drug Draws Criticism

Activists are using the International AIDS Conference to criticize drug companies for charging high prices for life-saving therapies 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.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid