The website of the People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO) may be under attack in Swaziland, but its message is still getting out.
This is a media release issued after the organisations’ recent National Executive Committee meeting concerning the General Congress to be held in January 2011.
NATIONAL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE (NEC) STATEMENT ON THE COMING 7th GENERAL CONGRESS OF PUDEMO
ISSUED: 30 November 2010
The NEC of PUDEMO held its regular NEC on the weekend of 26-28 November to deal with a number of issues relating to the struggle in Swaziland. On top of the agenda was the finalization of congress matters. In this regard the NEC concluded that the year 2011 must begin with a bang, with the liberation movement of Swaziland going to its 7th General Congress. The congress is set for 6-9 January 2011 and is expected to provide the impetus for the turning point in the history of the movement and the struggle for democracy in Swaziland.
The congress will be held within a context of intensified repression by the Tinkhundla royal regime which has been characterized by mass evictions of people by the royal family, genocidal deaths due to HIV/AIDS, the collapse of the social system, brutality against ordinary unarmed civilians, mass arrests, arbitrary raids and torture of activists, and killing of activists. In the current period, many activists of PUDEMO have died and suffered in the hands of the Swazi police. Among them is Ntokozo Ngozo who was shot several times at close range with his hands in the air; Mjomane Msibi who was shot by police in broad day light, Sipho Jele who was killed in custody and police claim he committed suicide.
The Swaziland economy has virtually collapsed, with the latest developments being the continuous uncertainty of payment of public service workers; the Central Bank of Swaziland borrowing money to the government for the payment of public sector workers; the massive depletion of the country’s reserves; and the country's political leadership continues to mismanage, loot and amass public resources (financial and land) for themselves.
International forces and organizations continue to condemn the Suppression of Terrorism Act of 2008 which bans the people's liberation movement and labels it a terrorist organization. Inspite of this, the people of Swaziland continue to rise and demand their freedom from Tinkhundla royal oppression and patronage. The workers of our country continue to forge unity. The world and democracy loving people are beginning to awaken to the reality in Swaziland as can be seen in the massive growth of the Swaziland Democracy Campaign-SDC across the world.
The congress shall be held under the theme “Building a national momentum as we advance towards multiparty democracy”
The congress is expected to address a number of issues among which is the role of the institution of the monarchy in a democratic dispensation; organizational cohesion and renewal; building a strong mass democratic movement for change; leadership issues; and the type of movement that is required under the given political terrain in Swaziland.
Held in the 38th year of the state of emergency that banned political parties and criminalized all political activity; 28th year of unbroken struggle by the people’s movement-PUDEMO, 21 years since Black Wednesday when the royal security forces invaded the University of Swaziland and brutalized students who were protesting against the dismissal of a lecturer (Cde Dominic Mngometulu) who was a leader of PUDEMO and some student leaders; the year when the youth League of PUDEMO will be celebrating 20 years since its formation; 21 years since the first treason trial in the history of Swaziland which was against PUDEMO members; 15 years (to the day) since the death of Noxolo Mdluli-a young student killed by police during a mass action; 15 years since the suspicious death of the founding president of SWAYOCO Benedict Tsabedze who died in a mysterious car accident next to the royal palace and three years after the formation of the Swaziland United Democratic Front-SUDF and a year after the formation of the Swaziland Democracy Campaign-SDC; indeed 2011 is the year when the liberation movement must provide strategic direction and leadership to the democratic forces of Swaziland.
The 250 delegates coming from branches of the movement throughout the country will descend on the congress venue to chart a way forward for the struggle for democracy in Swaziland.
To our allies and friends, we still maintain that your solidarity is important.
To the people of Swaziland, your liberation movement is alive. Join us on the last mile to freedom, a free and democratic Swaziland. Be part of this massive national momentum in our advance to multiparty democracy.
The time is now!