A group of ordinary Swazi people, unaffiliated with any of the known opposition groups in Swaziland, have used Facebook to call for mass protests on the streets of Mbabane and Manzini to force King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, to step down.
The group calling itself April 12 Swazi Uprising says in its Facebook group description, ‘It is the voice of the people on the streets who are SICK and tired of the misrule by the Swazi regime and the snail pace and lack of action by Swaziland's so-called progressive. We pledge, as a group, to create in the next few months the biggest mass movement that the country has ever seen. 2011 will also mark the year when we will topple the royalist regime. Joining this group is a pledge that you will work tirelessly to make this a reality.’
The group calls itself the April 12 Swazi Uprising to mark the date in 1973 that the then king, Sobhuza II, tore up the constitution and began to rule by Royal Proclamation. The state of emergency he declared in 1973 is still, in effect, in place in Swaziland today. The group wants people to take to the streets in protest on April 12, 2011.
The April 12 Swazi Uprising group says it has three full time organizers based in the capital city, Mbabane.
It says, ‘Their mandate is to take the idea to the people on the streets who are not keen facebookers. We are currently looking for people who will help in the hub.’