New Internationalist

Socialist Youth call for democracy in Swaziland now

11-03-04-democracy-in-swaziland-590.jpg [Related Image]
Bheki Dlamini at IUSY world council in Argentina.

We are appealing to democratic governments, regional bodies, and multilateral institutions to raise the issue of Swaziland and hold the authoritarian regime accountable. We call for political and economic pressure on the regime … [and] a peaceful transition to democracy,’ the IUSY wrote in a resolution passed at the IUSY World Council held in Rosario Argentina last week.

The IUSY is an international youth organization with UN ECOSOC consultative status. It has 134 member organizations in over 80 countries, including the youth league of banned pro-democracy party PUDEMO, the Swaziland Youth Congress (SWAYOCO).

Denied freedom

The IUSY, amongst other things, urged international bodies to apply smart sanctions on Swaziland’s royal family until multi-party democracy was implemented. It also demanded the unbanning of political parties, removal of repressive legislation towards political parties and labour unions, an end to systematic harassment of political activists, and the unconditional release of political prisoners and the return of exiles.

Swaziland remains the only African state that is ruled by an absolute monarchy … The people of Swaziland have been denied their freedom … since political parties were banned in 1973 by the monarchy,’ who control the government, courts and economy, the resolution stated.

The authoritarian rule has failed to transform the lives of the ordinary citizenry, as we witness that more than 60 per cent of Swazis live below the poverty datum line whilst the royal family lives lavishly … The youth is faced with the reality of grinding poverty, HIV/AIDS pandemic and a very high unemployment rate.’

More pressure on regime

The world must put more pressure on Mswati’s regime, says IUSY Vice President Bheki Dlamini, who is also President of the Swaziland Youth Congress (SWAYOCO).

Mswati must remember that there is no hiding place for his dictatorship. Young people from Swaziland and across the globe are demanding democracy and respect for human rights, and we shall not rest until Swaziland is politically free.’

The International Union of Socialist Youth (IUSY) was formed in 1907 as the youth organization of the Second International. It is the biggest political youth organization in the world, working to help promote strategies on issues such as poverty, gender equality and youth education and unemployment.

Several former IUSY leaders have gone on to hold office in their respective countries, including former IUSY Secretary General Per Hækkerup, who served as Minister of Foreign Affairs in Denmark in the sixties; former IUSY President Fikile Mbalula, who is the current Minister of Sport and Recreation in South Africa; and former President Jacinda Ardern, who is an MP and member of the Shadow Cabinet in New Zealand.

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