Are PUDEMO and the NNLC ready to join hands?
A post on the Stiffkitten blog
For a long time the democratic movement in Swaziland has been split along party lines – between the Ngwane National Liberatory Congress (NNLC) and the People’s Democratic Movement (PUDEMO). And while political pluralism is indispensable in any democracy, in a dictatorship such as Swaziland political pluralism in the democratic opposition must, to a degree anyway, give way to unity regarding overall themes of democratisation and financial redistribution. The formation of the Swaziland United Democratic Front (SUDF) in 2008 was an attempt to cast the differences of the political parties aside and form a coalition of all the democratic forces in Swaziland, especially since the differences between the NNLC and PUDEMO are relatively minor compared to the issues both parties have towards King Mswati III’s regime. Both the NNLC and PUDEMO are left wing, although the NNLC is more moderately so than PUDEMO which is strategically more revolutionary and militant. The NNLC withdrew from the SUDF, however, precisely because it believed that fringe segments of PUDEMO were too militant and “violent” and because it felt its queries to the SUDF leadership regarding this were not taken seriously although it was clear that there were internal disagreements as whether to leave the SUDF in the first place. “Within the SUDF, we agree on the political issues but disagree on the strategy”, as the NNLC's secretary general Thami Hlatshwayo stated to the author of this article. At a recent meeting, however, it was announced that the NNLC had rejoined the SUDF. Solving what Swaziland Democracy Campaign spokesperson Sikelela Dlamini has termed “the ongoing bickering within the ranks of the pro-democracy movement” in the August edition of The Nation magazine is therefore now to be “put to the test”.
To fully understand the dynamics of Swazi politics, it is important to look at the history of both parties and the relation of this history to various important events in the political history Swaziland.
To read the full article, click here.