Campaigners for democracy in Swaziland say it is ‘a matter of days’ before King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, admits that ‘the will of the people must reign’.
Now, the Swaziland United Democratic Front (SUDF) and the Swaziland Democracy Campaign (SDC), in a joint statement, predict the king will have to accept that his days are numbered.
‘We live in very interesting times. These are times filled with fury, organised confusion, drama and struggle. It is even clearer that the centre is no longer holding and it’s a matter of days before King Mswati III and his lieutenants admit that the will of the people must reign,’ they say.
‘The regime has never been as confused, the masses, workers in particular, are on the streets daily, proclaiming a new Swaziland through the thunder of their feet and unity in action.’
The Swaziland and South African chapters of the SDC say there are ‘major developments’ talking place. These include the uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa that ‘demonstrated, once again, that mass power and organisation are the only way to bring down oppressive regimes’.
The collapse of the Swazi economy means the government has run out of money and ‘the regime can no longer bribe and patronise to serve their narrow interests’.
The SDC says the effect of the collapse is being felt by professional and middle class elements ‘that have now come to throw their full weight behind the cause of the poor’.
The SDC is also encouraged by the unity of Swazi trades unions ‘which has set a heroic example for all civil society and progressive organisations to emulate’.
The SDC First Anniversary Conference and Public Rally will be on 8-10 April, which is expected to launch a ‘rolling programme’ of pro-democracy activities until a ‘global week of action’ takes place in September.