Swazi media is abuzz with news of the arrival of South Africa’s Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema who met Swaziland’s People’s Democratic Movement (PUDEMO) leader Mario Masuku over democracy talks.The two parties were discussing the possible revival of the #Free Swaziland campaign which seeks to bring regime change in the country.
The campaign existed in the past where South African political parties would show support to Swazi parties, especially when staging blockades at border gates shared by the two countries as one strategy to send the message across.
“PUDEMO secretary general Mlungisi Makhanya said activities would continue today where South Africans will today commemorate Youth Day which coincides with the June 16, 1976 youth uprising. Julius Malema, the president of EFF, is expected to speak during an EFF meeting today (Friday),” media reports suggest.
However, Swazi government spokesperson Percy Simelane feels the campaign is about bombing citizens into submission and destroying infrastructure including bridges.
“Government would not negotiate with politically bankrupt parties such as the EFF in South Africa,” Simelane told local media after he had been asked if the government was willing to enter into democracy talks with the South African political party.
According to Times of Swaziland, the government spokesperson went on to state that the EFF “spent most of its time boxing itself out of the ring of international respect.”
“The destiny of Swaziland was in the hands of its people and not at the mercy of its neighbouring or any nation anywhere in the world. PUDEMO remains a proscribed entity in the country,” he stated.
The existence of PUDEMO and other political parties such as the Swaziland Youth Congress (SWAYOCO), the Ngwane National Liberation Congress (NNLC), Swaziland United Democratic Front (SUDF) and Swaziland Democratic Party (SDP) is still considered illegal following the 1973 Decree that bans political parties in Swaziland.