Exiled SPLM President calls for more pressure to democratize Swaziland


JOHANNESBURG :Vusi Shongwe, the President of the Swaziland People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) said the struggle for democracy was becoming more romantic to the Tinkhundla regime; he calls for the adoption of other measures to intensity the calls for freedom. Speaking to this Swaziland News publication in an exclusive interview as his political party celebrates its first Anniversary, the exiled President said SPLM came into being after it was discovered that the fight for democracy was fast becoming more romantic instead of being aggressive to King Mswati’s dictatorship. “ The SPLM was formed on the realization that the struggle for the liberation of the Swazi people from the grip of the Tinkhundla regime was romantic. The King and his regime have become despicably arrogant and have since openly adopted a “we don’t care, so what attitude” which we felt should and could not be left unchallenged using more robust and decisive means. This shall make them sit up and listen to our call for the return of our country to democratic multi-party rule. The SPLM was born on realization that the once gallant fore bearers of the struggle for liberation in our country has taken a passive fighting and non-confrontational attitude in fighting the regime and dragging it into the negotiation table” he said.

When asked to comment on the current focus on Swaziland by the international media, the SPLM President said it has been triggered by the continuous looting or extravagant spending by the King and his family “ which is mainly self inflicted”. He said the focus by the international community in the country were the results of the good work done by all forces in the Mass Democratic Movement over the years which he said was highly commended.

“We however need to work up to the fact that international awareness and support although effective, has limitations and the bulk of the work in as far as forcing the regime to cede to our demands to democratize still rests with us. The Swazi people needs to wake up, forcefully fight and grab power from the regime” he said. The political activist, when asked to share information how he came to exile said that was influenced by events that manifested in Swaziland back in 2008. “It was after the regime agents had gone to harass my parents in Shiselweni, raided the homestead and after discovering that I was not there, told my parents to inform me “mountains do not meet, but we would meet and that I would carry gravel with by chest” You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to figure what that means especially if you had some encounters with them before. To show the seriousness of their mission, they were uninvited mourners at my brother’s funeral in 2010, where they came in plain clothes hoping that I would be at the funeral. They harassed my relatives who were driving SA registered cars by blocking their vehicles as they were entering my parental home with guns. They were hoping I could be in those cars” he said.

The SPLM President said it was not only him who was forced to exile by the regime as other members of the Mass Democratic Movement in particular those affiliated to his organization are also in exile “We do have members who are in exile in the different Provinces in the Republic” he confirmed. On another note, the political activists further mentioned that as an organization, they were open to forming coalitions with formations that share their political ideology and convictions. He said in their membership, they have different Swazis within the society who are supporting their political agenda to democratize the country.

“We have in our membership, ordinary members of the society, members of the armed forces, the church, members of the royal family to mention but a few. These individuals share in our vision and strategy for the total seize of power” he said. The political activists said their immediate plans were to grow the Movement through recruitment of new members in the four regions of the country. He said they also plan capacity building, training. The SPLM President further disclosed plans to increase collaboration with motive forces inside the country and further grow international cooperation with their allies and friends.

“To our people, the business community, the church, youth, civil society, workers, women and the disabled, the SPLM sends out a national call. Our liberation from the oppression of the royal family is in our hands Maswati lamahle. The time of hiding behind respect for the King and royal family are over. It’s true that Swazis are not happy about how their country is being misruled and looted by the royal family” he said.