The following is a draft letter of protest for people who support the aspirations of the Swaziland Global Day of Action.
It is being distributed by the Swaziland Democracy Campaign (SDC) and is a letter that can be formatted / edited for any likely target. This example is for a letter aimed at King Mswati III, who rules Swaziland as the last absolute monarch in sub-Saharan Africa.
SDC says it will be noted that besides the tone of the letter been hard on the target (the King), the body narrative is intended for other targets like affiliate country government that have relationship with Swaziland.
Format of letter of Protest on Swaziland
The King of Swaziland
King Mswati III
6 September, 2010.
A Call for true and popular constitutional and democratic order in the Republic of Swaziland
On this occasion of the National Day Anniversary of the Kingdom of Swaziland, it would have been a day amongst the citizenry to celebrate and reflect on the gains made years after independence and chart a course for greater heights, but sadly people and workers of Swaziland are still struggling to attain true freedom and space for collective actualization of their aspirations even as they currently oppressed and suppressed under the Tinkhundla system that have continued to erode their rights and further pauperise them.
Swaziland is a signatory to the African Union’s Charter on Human and People’s Right, ILO conventions, Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) Principles and Guidelines on Democratic Elections, as well as signatory to other bilateral and multilateral mechanisms for the promotion of democracy and Human Rights, but what currently operate in the Republic is a culture of gross infringement, violations and abuses of human and workers rights it has pledged to respect, protect and promote.
This letter is therefore sent with serious concerns and worries about the prevailing democratic situations in Swaziland that have seen constitutional reform process shutting out progressive voices and interests groups, and criminalizing dissent, which is the hallmark of participatory democracy. These situations have manifested in gross human and workers rights abuses manifest in security agents arbitrary arrest, torture and deaths in detention, extra-judicial killings, lack of judicial representation, threats and intimidation of trade unionists and activists and their families, and the hooding into exile of many progressive Swazis needed to contribute to the growth, prosperity and development of Swaziland.
We note that since 1973 the Republic through a decree has been placed in a seemingly perpetual public state of emergency that was declared by your very person, which banned all political parties, ceased the right of workers and citizens to assemble freely save until the Police authorize and permit such gathering, which is hardly granted. Furthermore, we note with serious concern the 60 days detention without trial piece of legislation that have been serially abused by security agents to hound many people holding contrary views into jail, and the agglomeration of legislative, judicial and executive powers in your traditional office as a practice contrary to global standard and acceptability. Similarly, we want to point out that the 2003 constitutional reform process undertaken under this state of emergency decree that closed out participation opportunities for trade unions and progressive civil society groups and further consolidated powers in the Monarchy thereby eliminating effective checks and balances for good governance as unfortunate and unacceptable, which we reject in totality.
Furthermore, we are aware that just as workers continue to work under hard and repressive industrial and economic environments that have deepen their poverty, the state has erected legislative and administrative obstacles to registration of associations and dissemination of alternative views to which the students and the university have continued to suffer. Citizens in the rural areas are subjected to forced labour and censorship under the guise of Culture as they are made to cultivate farmlands of local chiefs so as to be able to gain access to state facilities like education scholarship and elderly person’s grants for example. And just as we took to condemn slavery and colonialism Africa and apartheid in South Africa, we are united in purpose to reject the situations in the current Swaziland and demand for a true and progressive change.
And as mark of this united purpose, today all over the world persons of good conscience and friends of Swaziland across race, colour, tongue, religion and borders are staging international protest actions as mark of solidarity with the struggle of the good people of Swaziland, which cuts across the trade unions, Church Organisations, Women organisations, Students and Youth organisations, CSOs, Political movements and the rural communities and cultural organisations. We therefore make the following demands:
The abrogation of the over 37 years old Public State Emergency and the removal of all laws that prohibit political assembly
A quick return to multi-party democracy and a democratic popular participatory constitution-making process through a convocation of a democratically elected National Constitutional Assembly
Ensure the true promotion and realisation of fairer distribution of national wealth through pro-poor and people policies, programmes and public expenditures
Fully respect and implement ILO Conventions on working standards to be done in full consultation and participation of trade union organisations
Ensure an independent and free media and the judiciary, as well as the unconditional release of all political prisoners and return of all political exiles
These demands represent the irreducible minimum of the various demands sought and been pursued by the workers and people of Swaziland. We make haste to add that we will continue this campaign until change comes to Swaziland and its people.