The Communist Party of Swaziland (CPS) wishes all our compatriots a Happy New Year. Let us make the 2020s a decade where freedom and democracy are finally realised in our beautiful country.
The autocracy in Swaziland has over the past decade remained stubbornly in place, despite mounting opposition to its anti-democratic, oppressive and mafia-style running of the economy. Support for the regime from SADC member states is one of the reasons it has been able to hold on to power.
Another is the lack of effective, coherent and united opposition to the regime from democratic forces inside the country and operating in exile, largely in South Africa. The launch in 2011 of the CPS and the subsequent growth of the Party has injected a necessary element of socialist perspectives into the democracy movement, one that posits a socialist future for our country as the only sustainable, people-centred solution to the long-standing feudal-capitalist mix that is proving so ruinous to the people.
In the past year, 2019, we witnessed growing protests particularly by public sector workers over unpaid wages and students over unpaid scholarships and allowances. The autocratic regime under Mswati is not only dysfunctional economically and systemically; it has completely turned away from any pretence of reliance on popular support. Its focus now is to simply survive in the mist of growing popular opposition.
The rural poor have expressed in many ways their understanding that their dire situation is due to the ruling autocracy. They are increasingly rejecting the tinkhundla system, which merely perpetuates absolute royal diktat.
We need to foster greater unity in the democracy movement to sharpen the already growing dissatisfaction with the regime. There also needs to be real, open and candid dialogue among the democracy forces about the way forward.
As the CPS, we will continue to foster innovative campaigning work around our calls for the immediate unbanning of political parties, unconditional release of political detainees and prisoners and the right of return of exiles, de-censorship of the media, complete freedom of assembly, and a process towards free and fair elections that would lead to the creation of a new constitution for the country.
We have reiterated these calls many times over the past 9 years of our existence and are heartened that they have been – in one form of another – incorporated into the demands of other democracy groupings, notwithstanding their ideological non-alignment to the CPS.
We will also be placing strong emphasis on the guiding campaign call of our work, the simple demand for Democracy Now! This is the overarching demand that embraces the aspirations of the majority of the oppressed people and of all branches of civil society that oppose the autocracy.
We also need to reach out further to muster support from abroad by urging people not to make Swaziland their holiday destination. A call for a tourism boycott, as well as a sports and arts boycott and business boycott, would be a major way of informing the rest of the world of, and recruiting active support to oppose, the brutal oppression that exists in our country.
The CPS will in this year scale up the mobilisation of people in urban areas in Swaziland to protest against worsening social depravation and deepening poverty. Traditionally, our smallish urban areas have fared better than the deeply deprived rural areas, but now such deprivation is making more inroads into these parts of the country, as the regime further tightens the screws of economic exploitation and oppression.
Above all, we want to make the 2020s a decade of hope that change will come, that freedom is possible, that the equality of all population groups will be a reality, that the wealth of our country can and will be shared, and that the large masses of the people will no longer have to suffer the indignity of being feudal subjects, but will be free citizens with an equal stake in their country’s prosperity.
Source: Communist Party of Swaziland via Solidnet / RedGlobe