More confusion over the Bushfire Festival (BFF) ‘boycott’. Earlier today (13 May 2011) the Swaziland Democracy Campaign said the boycott was back on. Now, here’s a press release from the Swaziland United Democratic Front (SUDF) issued this afternoon, implying that it could be off again. How should we interpret its statement ‘These bilateral engagements will confirm The SUDF’s final position on events such as the BFF going forward’?
Is it too much to ask for a clear statement saying it’s on ... or it’s off?
Swaziland United Democratic Front
13 May 2011
“Cultural Boycott Continues”
In the light of the ensuing furore around the Bushfire Festival (BFF), the Swaziland United Democratic Front (SUDF) pronounces as follows:
1. That we fully respect the decision taken by our campaign wing, the Swaziland Democracy Campaign (SDC) of engaging the organisers of the BFF and subsequently proposing for a reversal of its intended boycott following the organisers’ courage to engage the SDC under the current hostile political environment. We consider on-going engagements to be a valuable opportunity for the SUDF, as a mother body, to further interrogate in order to verify the extent to which such events sustain or do not sustain the continued existence of the current repressive political set-up. These bilateral engagements will confirm The SUDF’s final position on events such as the BFF going forward
2. That the SDC and ourselves remain committed to the wider cultural boycott as part of our global campaign to isolate the Tinkhudla regime until it accedes to a return to multiparty democracy; particularly in relation to Umhlanga, Incwala, Buganu, King’s Birthday, etc., which exemplify the reckless unaccountable expenditure that has resulted in the economic difficulties affecting mainly poor and innocent Swazi citizens today
3. We are humbled and encouraged by the passionate determination of our international solidarity partners, especially in South Africa, to support our cause
4. We assure our international friends that neither the SUDF nor its campaign wing, SDC, will ever needlessly act in a manner that jeopardises our longstanding partnership and ultimately compromises the struggle
5. We have however seriously observed that there are malicious and often personalized attacks against activists and leaders of the Swazi pro-democracy movement, which has become an unfortunate culture in certain forums. This serves both to undermine the integrity of our struggle and to reverse advances the Swazi people have already recorded on the ground. It’s only self-serving and must stop forthwith
6. We therefore challenge anyone or any organization that has genuine concerns about any issues relating to the struggle in Swaziland to respectfully channel such concerns through legitimate organizations mandated by the suffering people of Swaziland themselves instead of resorting to singling out and insulting individuals through forums with a dubious mandate.