Prodemocracy campaigners in Swaziland have reacted with fury at an article that drew attention to shortcomings in their activities.
The article published originally on the stiffkitten blog, and subsequently reproduced on various Internet sites, drew attention to, ‘Messages [from democracy activists] proclaiming the final days of king Mswati’s absolute monarchy in Swaziland, or the revolutionary uprising of thousands of Swazis, have been conveyed many times by individuals and organisations within Swaziland’s democratic movement.’
It went on, ‘What such messages all have in common is that they turn out to be disappointingly far from the truth, that they therefore create false expectations, both inside and outside Swaziland, and that the discrepancy between the predictions and the outcome of the actual protest action reflects poorly on the democratic movement at large – regardless of the fact that much of the democratic movement has for decades worked vigorously and bravely to try and convince the majority of Swazis to stand up and demand democracy and economic justice.’
Activists denounced the writer, Peter Kenworthy, for pointing out what many of us have seen as obvious for years: that activists sometimes exaggerate how close the kingdom, ruled by King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, is to achieving political change.
Kenworthy gave the following as an example of the rhetoric: “The people of Swaziland are convinced that no muti or ritual will ever stop the tide of the revolution. The year 2012 will be the year that king Mswati’s dictatorship finally ends and a new democratic dispensation takes its place.” (Swaziland Solidarity Network statement, December 2011).
The SSN and others have reacted strongly to Kenworthy’s article. Unfortunately, the critics resort to abuse and swear words in their response. I won’t put them up on the blog, but if you want to read them, click on the links below.
WARNING: Not suitable for children or maiden aunts.
DEMOCRATIC MOVEMENT ‘CRIED WOLF’