Swaziland’s illegally-appointed Prime Minister Barnabas Dlamini has threatened members of a youth organisation that they will not be allowed to hold a rally in support of jailed Swazi democrat Mario Masuku scheduled for tomorrow (28 February 2009).
Meanwhile, the Methodist Church has asked organisers, the Swaziland Youth Congress (SWAYOCO), to cancel the rally because it fears there will be violence if it goes ahead.
The Prime Minister’s office released a statement saying that the government regards SWAYOCO as a terrorist organisation in Swaziland and because of this it will not be allowed to meet.
SWAYOCO is determined to hold a rally in support of Masuku, the president of another banned organisation, the People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO). Masuku is presently in jail awaiting trial on charges under the Suppression of Terrorism Act.
The rally is to be held at Msunduza in the Swazi capital Mbabane, starting a 2pm.
The Methodist Church has asked SWAYOCO to call off the rally because, according to the Swazi Observer today (27 February 2009), ‘they were afraid of what would happen if there could be confrontation between the police and SWAYOCO members’.
According to the Observer, Wandile Dludlu, President of SWAYOCO, said it would not postpone the rally. He said if the church wants to talk to someone then it should be the police.
‘If they feel there is going to be violence then let them talk to the police and not us.’