The Swaziland Government has been forced into a humiliating climb-down after the High Court ruled that the Southern African Social Forum could go ahead.
Acting Prime Minister Bheki Dlamini had publicly stated that the forum was a threat to national security and should not go ahead.
The government offered no evidence to support this assertion when challenged by democrats and had no case when confronted with the Swaziland Constitution which allows for freedom of speech, freedom of association and freedom of assembly.
To save the face of the government, forum organisers said they would not hold a march at the end of the three-day conference which starts today (16 October 2008).
According to the Swazi Observer today Dlamini had said the forum should be banned because it intended to ‘strengthen regional people's initiatives and in solidarity with the struggling people of Swaziland and to raise the international profile of the Swazi struggle’.
Government’s attorney Sanele Khuluse said they feared that the forum was a threat to national security since it had been ‘hijacked’ by trade unions.
News of the ban spread around the globe and further alerted people to the fact that Swaziland is not a democracy and the Swazi government relies on bullying and coercion to keep its subjects in order.
Swaziland’s international reputation was in tatters last month (September 2008) after national elections in which political parties were banned. Lavish celebrations, costing an estimated 10 million dollars (E70 million), for the 40th birthday of King Mswati III and the anniversary of Swaziland’s independence from Britain in the same month also cast grave doubts on the governance of the kingdom.
democracy, Southern Africa Social Forum, King Mswati III, Swaziland, Swazi, Swazi Observer, High Court