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(en) Africa, ZACF Solidarity with the pro-democratic movement in Swaziland

Date Wed, 25 Jan 2006 17:24:47 +0200


Swaziland Youth Day and the Sixteen Pro-Democracy Activists Facing the Death Sentence
Statement and appeal for international solidarity with Swaziland and
the 16 pro-democracy activists facing the death sentence.
A woman is dead as a result of the injuries incurred from her torture,
by the Swazi police, for being married to a member of the
Peoples’ United Democratic Movement, PUDEMO. Another 16
pro-democracy activists, arrested in December after a spate of
firebomb attacks, whose charges have now been upgraded to High
Treason, await their sentences of possible death or life
imprisonment. And dozens of pro-democracy leaders and activists
are fleeing the country in fear of their lives.

We don't endorse the bombings, as the ZACF has consistently been
against terrorism in favour of mass mobilisation; and we don't
assume that the 16 PUDEMO and SWAYOCO members did it; but
we defend them and demand their release whether they did it or not.
The fact that people have resorted to violence to make themselves
heard when they speak or act out against this brutal monarchy only
goes to show the gravity of the reality of life for the majority of
Swazis under this agonising dictatorship, and the lengths a desperate
people are prepared to go in their struggle for democracy and against
the injustice of the Tinkhundla regime.

We radicals and revolutionaries in South Africa and worldwide must
remember that the people of Swaziland aided South African freedom
fighters during the anti-apartheid struggle and now it is time to repay
the favor. We must also remember that a very similar struggle is
being waged in another of our neighboring countries, Zimbabwe,
against an equally authoritarian and corrupt system. In so doing we
need to recognize that we cannot divorce these struggles from one
another as, if either are to be successful, we need to put into
practical application the regional solidarity talked about at the
Southern African Social Forum and Uhuru Youth Camp in Harare in
December.

Saturday the 21st of January is Swaziland Youth Day, traditionally
marked by violent repression of peaceful youth gatherings. On this
day we are calling for anyone who is serious about international
solidarity against capitalism and in favour of democracy over
dictatorship to organise activities, actions and events in solidarity not
only with the Swazi youth and those struggling against the
monarchy, but also in solidarity with the struggling people of
Zimbabwe.

On this day we are certain that the police will repress the youth
demonstrations, probably make arrests, and beat and torture
activists. Any form of solidarity is needed. We need to let the Swazi
regime know that they are being watched. It is unacceptable that 16
of our comrades are already in jail and awaiting their possible death
sentence or life imprisonment, let this day also be a day of action
demanding their immediate release. Let it also be a warning to the
Tinkhundla regime that our conscience will not let us sit idly by
while they torture, imprison and kill people whose only crime is to
fight for social justice and for freedom.

We realize that it may be difficult to organise activities for the 21st
on such late notice and so appeal to the international community to
make an effort at showing their solidarity with the people of
Swaziland over the coming weeks and even months. The 16 treason
trialists will appear in court on Friday 20th January when the date for
their trial will be set, and so we ask that anyone who can stage
demonstrations, pickets, send letters of protest and petitions etc. to
the respective Kingdom of Swaziland High Commission in their
countries please do so. For as long and as often as it takes until they,
and indeed all Swazi political prisoner s are released. Bearing in mind
the imperial interests of British and South African capital in
Swaziland, if there is not a Swaziland High Commission in your
country, actions at these embassies could be considered instead.

We know that whatever the public face of South African and British
imperialism in Swaziland, be it absolute monarchy or constitutional
democracy, the same dogs will be calling the shots and running the
country (into the ground). Let this warning therefore extend to them.

Recognizing that the oppressed people of Swaziland have demands
of their own, which we endorse, provided they are progressive and
democratic in nature, we demand the following:

1. A general amnesty for all political prisoners
2. Freedom of association, assembly and speech, and full trade union
rights
3. Abolition of the pseudo-democratic Thikundla, Liqoqo, royal and
state power structures and their replacement by
directly-democratic,decentralised popular assemblies of the working
class, poor and peasantry.
4. Equal rights for women
5. Abolition of all chiefly privileges - especially the power to steal
land from the poor
6. Land redistribution in both commercial and traditional sectors
7. Free and democratic education, with student representative
councils at schools
8. A living wage campaign in the plantations, factories and farms
9. Ban on retrenchments, and well-paid decent jobs for all

They can arrest us, torture us, and beat us
Still they'll never ever defeat us!

Jonathan
International Secretary, Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Federation
(Southern Africa)
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