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12 APRIL 1973 DECREE:PUDEMO, pro-democracy MultiStakeholder Forum(MSF) says King Sobhuza introduced dictatorship by banning political parties.

Friday, 12th April, 2024

MBABANE: Sikelela Dlamini, the Secretary General(SG) of the pro-democracy MultiStakeholder Forum(MSF) has released a statement on behalf the political organization,reflecting on the effects of the 1973 King’s proclamation to the Nation.

The Constitution of 6th September 1968 was suspended on the 12 April 1973 by a state emergency decree imposed by King Sobhuza II, the father of the current King Mswati, the decree gave absolute power to the Monarchy and banned political parties or opposition.

"The Swaziland Multi Stakeholder Forum (MSF) takes this moment to reflect on the country’s political system since the 12th April, 1973. The King’s proclamation to the nation on this day changed the political landscape of the country in that there was then a usurpation of all powers (Executive, Legislative and Judiciary by the monarchy, a political establishment that still persists even today. This proclamation contained 13 decrees in it, some of which banned political parties in the entirety and peaceful assembly by the people of Swaziland.Currently, the civic and political space in the country has shrunk markedly and the general living conditions of Swazis are deplorable because the regime violates human and peoples’ rights with impunity. The regime gets the authority to do all this from the proclamation itself since it centralized all powers to the monarchy. It remains necessary though to forge ahead as we demand total democracy in our lifetime.The escalated brutality of the regime on voices of dissent is an indication that the autocratic Tinkundla system is determined to cling to power at all costs. The violation of fundamental rights of citizens to associate, gather, march and express themselves freely makes Swaziland to be a closed society. Our belief as the MSF is that only total Democracy can improve the situation and our fight to dismantle the Tinkundla system remains our only option,” reads the statement in part released by the the Secretary General(SG) of MSF.

On onother note, Brian Sangweni the National Spokesperson of the People’s United Democratic Movement(PUDEMO) said, as an organization they stand united in condemning the oppressive and undemocratic decree known as the 1973 proclamation.

"The 1973 Proclamation was a blatant power grab by the late King Sobhuza II, who sought to consolidate his authority and suppress any form of opposition or dissent. By dismantling the democratic institutions of Swaziland and establishing a repressive regime centred on his own rule, Sobhuza II effectively silenced the voices of the Swazi people and denied them their basic rights to freedom of speech, assembly, and association.

Unfortunately, the legacy of the 1973 Proclamation continues to haunt the people of Swaziland to this day under the reign of King Mswati III. The current monarch has wielded the same decree as a tool of repression, using the Umbutfo Swaziland Defence Force to quash any form of dissent and maintain his grip on power. Political parties such as PUDEMO are still banned and persecuted; activists are still harassed and arrested; and the fundamental rights of the Swazi people are still trampled upon in desperation to maintain the status quo.The People’s United Democratic Movement, unequivocally condemn the 1973 Proclamation and call for its immediate repeal. We demand the restoration of genuine democracy in Swaziland, where the rights and voices of the people are respected and upheld. We reject the authoritarian rule of King Mswati III and his continued use of repressive measures to suppress the will of the Swazi people.It is time for change in Swaziland. It is time for the people to rise up and demand their rights and freedoms. It is time for a new era of democracy, justice, and equality in our beloved country. PUDEMO stands ready to lead this struggle and work towards a future where all Swazis can live in dignity and  freedom", reads the statement in part released by the Spokesperson of PUDEMO.

12 APRIL 1973 DECREE:PUDEMO, pro-democracy MultiStakeholder Forum(MSF) says King Sobhuza introduced dictatorship by banning political parties.
King Sobhuza.