Mario Masuku, now seen across the world as Swaziland’s main opposition leader, will continue his demand for total democratic reforms in the kingdom.
Masuku, president of the banned People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO) was speaking to the Voice of America radio station after being released from jail on terrorism and sedition charges.
A High Court judge released Masuku on Monday (21 September 2009) within hours of the start of his trial which was expected to last several days. High Court Judge Mbutfo Mamba halted the trial after being presented with ‘poor quality of evidence’ by the prosecution led by Swaziland’s Director of Public Prosecutions Mumcy Dlamini.
Masuku had been on remand in a maximum security prison after being accused of making statements in support of terrorism against the Swaziland state, ruled by King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch.
Masuku told VOA he was not angry with the Swazi monarchy. ‘I do not feel aggrieved I hate nobody who has accused me of that. Instead, it is the system of governance which is undemocratic, un-participative, un-representative, and distorting our course,’ he said.
Masuku described his unwavering commitment for demanding democracy.
‘I feel it is only my duty to exert more pressure and go to the finish,’ Masuku said. He said despite the ban, he would uphold the principles of PUDEMO.
‘Unfortunately, fighting as peaceful as possible within the condition for a democratic, un-nepotistic, un-racial Swaziland is an idea and the principle that I joined this party for. And as long as I still exist, it is the principle I will go along with,’ he said.
Masuku said there is room for both democracy and monarchy to exist side-by-side instead of the country's absolute monarchy.
‘Really, there can be a multi-party democracy with a monarchy in place. But you can never have absolute monarchy and multi-party democracy. Those things cannot tie,’ Masuku said.
He said Swazis must have the right to choose their leader.