News / Africa

Swaziland Pro-Democracy Groups to Meet in December

UN General Assembly Swaziland
UN General Assembly Swaziland
Peter Clottey
In the Southern African kingdom of Swaziland, pro-democracy groups plan to meet this month to come up with improved ways of pressing for reforms.

Wandile Dludlu, national coordinator for the Swaziland United Democratic Front (SUDF), said there are two main objectives to the meeting: 

“The first one,” he said, “is to assess how we performed in terms of campaigns as well as the program generally including the boycott campaign. This is among the issues we will be evaluating.  And then of course we want to prepare to set the agenda for next year, around what should be the priority issues and what lessons did we draw from the activities this past year.”

The government has banned or refused to recognize pro-democracy groups. The government calls members of the groups including the banned People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO) “terrorists.”  The government also accuses them of acts of violence in their effort to bring about democratic reforms. The group denies the accusations.

Observers say the administration is unlikely to grant the groups permits for their meeting. The kingdom’s police have often prevented the pro-democracy groups from gathering. The groups in turn accuse the government of violently suppressing the opposition meetings.

Dludlu said the groups have a contingency plan to meet outside the country if security forces refuse to grant them permits or violently suppress the gathering.

“Too often, we will try to hold clandestine meetings; we do not necessarily go out in the public and announce the venue and the time,” said Dludlu. “But also we do not want to keep running away. We do deliberately hold these meetings, and whether they get disrupted or not, that will not deter our spirit; we will continue to give it a try.”

Some analysts have questioned the progress made by pro-democracy groups since the government has increased its clampdown on dissent and democratic reform. Dludlu disagreed.

“The [recent] election did not meet international standards, but to a great extent it’s a vote of no confidence. This we view as a gain and quite a positive response or message that the masses sent to his majesty [King Mswati III]”, said Dludlu. “But also people are getting more and more active at the community level -- voicing their dissatisfaction with the MPs, chiefs, and there are community uprisings against one chief [in particular].”                                             

Dludlu says pro- democracy groups will continue their demands for a free country with democratic rights without fear of government intimidation or harassment.
Clottey interview with Joanne Mariner, Amnesty International crisis adviser
Clottey interview with Joanne Mariner, Amnesty International crisis adviser i
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years 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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs