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Thursday, 7 November 2013

SWAZIS SUPPORT FOOTBALL BOYCOTT CALL

Two of Swaziland’s major prodemocracy groups have backed a call for the South African Football Association (SAFA) to boycott a match against the kingdom.

In separate statements the Swaziland Solidarity Network (SSN) and the People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO) supported the move to put pressure on King Mswati III’s, who runs the kingdom as an absolute monarch.

Swaziland is due to play South Africa in a friendly match on 15 November 2013. The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) called for the match to be stopped as part of its on-going support of a cultural boycott against King Mswati.

In a statement the SSN said the COSATU ban was, ‘part of a programme of smart sanctions designed to put pressure on King Mswati to respect human rights and allow democracy in that country’.

SSN added, ‘It is our understanding that football, especially in Africa, is a very powerful sport, which has historically been used positively and negatively to affect the socio-economic realities of ordinary people. This plea gives SAFA an opportunity to raise its profile within the region and in the country as a champion of human rights and democracy.’

PUDEMO, in a statement said if the match went ahead its members would disrupt it.

It added, ‘Our experience is that King Mswati uses such events to feign some legitimacy and present his undemocratic kingdom as credible to the unsuspecting world.

‘In 2006 we called for targeted sanctions against the undemocratic Swazi regime with specific appeal for a cultural, military, economic and sports boycott. COSATU’s call therefore is in response to our appeal to boycott this regime and expose it for the fiefdom that it is.’

PUDEMO added, ‘King Mswati is averse to international scrutiny and humiliation and a cancellation of the match on the basis that Swaziland is an undemocratic and illegitimate state will surely rattle him. He will know that his government will no longer enjoy legitimacy and be an island of dictatorship in a sea of democracy.’

Calling for the boycott, COSATU called King Mswati’s regime a ‘brutal monarchist dictatorship’.

It said, ‘This absolute monarch denies the people the most basic of democratic rights. He has banned political parties. He refuses to recognise the legitimate trade union organisation TUCOSWA. He uses force and fear to intimidate and subjugate the people of Swaziland.

‘Meanwhile he continues to loot the state resources to feed himself and his rapacious criminal family, at a time when the Swaziland economy and its health system are collapsing and poverty levels have escalated.’

See also

‘CANCEL MATCH IN PROTEST AGAINST KING’

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