The Art of Requesting Democracy from a Dictator
It would be fascinating to watch a group of Al Qaeda extremists discussing how they would execute the bombing of an American city while asking American President Barack Obama for his input on how to successfully achieve that end. As absurd as that sounds, it is what a group of progressive Swazis did when they organised an Election’s Dialogue on 10 – 11 May 2013 at the Wits University, in anticipation of the upcoming elections/selections that Mswati 111 and his government of stooges uses every five years as a process to dupe the gullible on a purported democratic dispensation in Swaziland.
|from left to right: Sam Mkhombe (Sibahle), Simeon Simelane (Sibahle).Skhumbuzo Phakathi (PUDEMO), |
(Moses Ndlela(NNLC), and Kenneth Kunene (CPS);
standing: Professor William Gumede (moderator)
So it was with much curiosity that I arrived at the Wits Club to witness what I had already dubbed the Irony of the Gullible Swazi. Considering that Swaziland is not known for its ability to progress, but its affinity to a satirical existence. The country's public service wage bill currently exceeds 18 percent of gross domestic product, taking it to the highest level in Sub-Saharan Africa, and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is at present well acquitted with the rude finger that the Swazi Tinkhundla authorities are so fond of presenting to anyone that dares offer opinion contrary to the favored life of convenient irony. Swaziland has the highest prevalence of HIV/AIDS in the world, it is the fifth poorest in the world at 69.2%, and it is a place where the average person is expected to live just 48.3years. Under such unfavorable conditions the expectation would be that Sub-Saharan’s last absolute Monarch king Mswati 111 would be the shining example to his subjects by at least trying to show some restraint in unprotected sexual indulgences, but his children are continuing to increase from the 13 different wives, which is evidence enough that he is unashamedly singing solo without knowing the lyrics.
When the ramblings of the bourgeois find fertile soil
No country has the right to defend, fund or justify a dictatorship. That is not an assertion that holds true in global foreign policy, hence the justification in the corridors of diplomatic corps that the one oppressed must be subject to whatever meager opportunities of inequality that the dictator in question offers. Mswati 111 and dictatorship incorporated has offered a bait of an election so flawed that the Commonwealth responded to it by saying, “We cannot therefore conclude that the entire process was credible”, but there are those of the International community including the American embassy to Swaziland that find it just to insinuate that participation in Mswati’s elections would be advisable as American Ambassador to Swaziland Makila James hinted at a meeting held at the American Consulate in Sandton Johannesburg not so long ago. Not to find fault with employees of foreign missions but to expose a double standard that seeks to keep the oppressed further enslaved and to justify relations built on the misery of the oppressed and funded by those in the trade of buying and selling mortgage relationships.
It wouldn’t be surprising then that an alleged political party, (Sive Siyinqaba, Sibahle Sinje “Liberation” Movement) that from conception, unapologetically styled itself as the Monarchy’s PR tool, would be invited in a dialogue event where the main aim was to find a way to do away with the dictatorship of the Monarchy. So many will be the mistakes as even the most astute are consumed by paranoia and impatience born of the lack of appreciation that it takes time to perfect a dictatorship hence the expectation of an instant reversal carries dangers of embracing an illusion.
A Dialogue of World Class Status
Besides the Monarch’s representatives the attendance register turned into a collector’s item when the attendees started pouring in. There were academics, international organizations, policymakers, embassies and respected personalities. Three of Swaziland’s banned political parties –PUDEMO, NNLC, and CPS - were also at hand to give a sort of a telescopic view of what the future Democratic Swazi government might look like. The keynote address was conducted by Professor Steven Friedman, Director at the Centre for the Study of Democracy. He made comparisons with the Bantustans of the apartheid regime and how the experiment of participating in structures of a dictatorship has no good results to be seen in present day. Refusing to preempt the dialogue he summed up his address by saying that democracy boiled down to “an equal say for all”.
Ibrahim Fakir, the current manager of the Governance Institutions and Processes department at the electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa (EISA), seemed to be bursting at the seams as he evidently tried to contain his honest opinion on the quality of the Tinkhundla electoral system. But finally he couldn’t hold himself any longer and said, “I don’t know why you guys call it an election when there are no political parties contesting for it”. He said an acceptable electoral system was one that could be described as “credible and legitimate”, which the Tinkhundla electoral system is obviously not.
When I was exchanging pleasantries with American Ambassador to Swaziland, Makila James, she hinted on the need for “consistency” within the ranks of the activist’s organization which is more or less the buzz word among activists as the Swazi struggle seems to be reaching a new threshold in optimism.
Google Mapping Swaziland
It seems the struggle for democracy in Swaziland is within the boundaries of favorable coordinates, because two of Swaziland’s arguably most influential political parties are well aware of the fact that the coordinates to the exact location of Swaziland’s democracy will not be handed out like candy at a spoilt kid’s birthday party. It is good to also see that a great number of Swazi people are now seeing that King Mswati 111 will not be emotionally touched by a litany of pleas, requesting to be handed democracy on the very silver platter that is keeping the royal family in power. There is no art of requesting democracy from a dictator. As PUDEMO has always maintained “WE WILL NEVBER BEG FOR OUR FREEDOM”.