The Communist Party of Swaziland (CPS) held its first Central Committee meeting of 2019 from 1 to 3 March 2019 in the Mpumalanga Province in South Africa. The Central Committee meets for the first time since the highly successful Party’s December 2018 Summer School, the benefits of which are already manifesting themselves in the various facets of the struggle for freedom in Swaziland.
CPS General Secretary, Comrade Kenneth Thokozani Kunene, presented the Political Report, reflecting on the past year, 2018, especially the heroic struggles of the workers under the Trade Union Congress of Swaziland (TUCOSWA). During 2018, workers bravely fought for their various demands and also made the further demand for the democratisation of our country. The Report also commended the people of Swaziland in their mass rejection of the sham tinkhundla elections. Tinkhundla elections are nothing but a game for the monarch to form a toy parliament to rubberstamp the monarch’s decisions. In 2013 Mswati refashioned the tinkhundla system a “monarchical democracy; a meeting between the monarch and the ballot”, thus a system which places the monarch at the centre of everything, for the benefit of no one else but the monarch!
The Political Report also noted the need to intensify, by all material means necessary, the struggle against the Mswati autocracy. It unpacked the necessary material for the revolution in line with the CPS’s Programme of Action 2016-2020. Thus, in every analysis the Party has the duty to pay due regard to the stage of development of productive forces, along with production relations, and carefully analyse the stage of imperialism especially as it affects the struggles of the working class of the world.
To engage in all the above, the Central Committee has the duty to build a Party that is well-endowed with the necessary qualities for engaging in a fierce battle to the death against the Mswati regime, while at the same time building a Party that is capable and ready to run the country.
Workers’ struggles and latest developments in Swaziland
The Central Committee also noted, but was not surprised by, the Mswati regime’s continuing suppression of workers’ rights. Mswati’s court first decided to postpone a legal public workers’ strike action which had been scheduled for 25 September 2018, and in January 2019 quashed the strike action altogether after directives from Mswati’s office. It is a fact well known by the population of Swaziland that Mswati controls the judiciary. This reality has been in existence since 12 April 1973 when the late Sobhuza II abrogated the 1968 constitution, banned political parties and political freedoms and thereafter bestowed all executive, legislative and judicial powers upon the monarch. Thenceforth, the monarch would rule by royal decree, using the army to enforce royal laws.
The Central Committee called upon workers of Swaziland to strengthen their unity even further and to also see through the whole court façade and realise that the courts of Swaziland are there to serve the interests of the monarch and its allies, not the general population. As such, only a defiance campaign that involves the widest and vast majority of the people of Swaziland is the only reliable tool which will ever bring hope to the people of Swaziland that they will soon be free.
The Mswati regime has been victimising workers for the better part of 2018. 2019 has not been any different. In the 2018 workers’ strike actions, the royal police shot at workers with live bullets, injuring many, assaulted a lot more and arrested others.
The Central Committee also noted the arrest of two leaders of the Swaziland National Association of Teachers, who are also leaders of the CPS, Comrade Mcolisi Ngcamphalala and Comrade Njabulo Dlamini. They were arrested on 11 January 2019 while on their way to attend their union’s meeting, with the police making it clear that they were going to “fix” them. They were later released on bail. Their case continued on Tuesday 5 March 2019, at the Manzini Magistrate’s Court, where a trial date was set; 21 May 2019. The CPS will continue to support all workers who have been victimised by the regime.
Workers under the Correctional Services department have already spoken out against the mandatory docking of their salaries in order to finance Mswati’s 51st birthday celebration coming up on 19 April this year. Mandatory cuts are also expected in the police and army forces, as it happened last year when Mswati celebrated his 50th birthday which impoverished the nation by over E1 billion (over US$70 million). As usual, the regime, through the chiefs, will once again force communities to donate to this unnecessary birthday celebration.
The Central Committee also committed its support to workers under Eswatini Electricity Company who defied Mswati’s courts and engaged in a strike action from 28 February 2019, demanding justice in the payment system. While the company’s executive management received their salary alignment in 2016, the rest of the heavily exploited workers have been forced to wait and told to understand! Party activists are called upon to continue giving practical solidarity to the workers in this fight.
On Mswati’s message and 2019/2020 national budget
The CPS Central Committee noted the lifeless speeches delivered by Mswati during the opening of parliament and his finance minister’s budget. As usual, both speeches reflected one reality: everything done by the government is to fulfil Mswati’s dreams, not those of the people! So clear was this that as soon as Mswati had delivered his speech, members of parliament organised gifts for him, to thank him for his speech. To top it all, they looted public coffers to purchase these gifts!
From the outset, the minister of finance was clear in the budget speech delivered on 27 February 2019 that he was thankful only to his boss, Mswati, “for the mandate and direction that he gave the Nation and his Government in his speech” at the opening of parliament on 8 February 2019. He added that as Mswati’s handpicked government they will continue to strive for his “Vision 2022” in which Swaziland, in Mswati’s head, will be a first world country! To achieve this people’s nightmare, the minister of finance called upon the whole nation to sacrifice. He did not call for any sacrifice from the chief looters of the Swazi economy, Mswati and his family.
From the crux of the messages from Mswati and his finance minister, it then becomes an exercise in futility to try and influence the budget towards this direction or the other. Mswati is sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch. He has the power to dissolve parliament as and when he wishes. The people of Swaziland expect nothing to be done by the members of parliament in challenging the pro-monarch budget and direction of government. It is therefore no surprise to the CPS that a lot of money is splashed on the security forces, for the suppression of human rights, and nothing is done to improve the education and health sectors, both of which affect the greater population.
Cultural boycott campaign against the Mswati autocracy
The CPS 2018 Summer School had already engaged on the necessity of isolating and exposing the absolute monarch internationally and proposed that the cultural boycott against Swaziland be intensified. The Central Committee thus engaged thoroughly on this, noting that a discussion with the Swaziland Solidarity Network will be crucial in this process. This is one of the key issues that the upcoming National Conference of the CPS will engage and resolve on.
Jacob Zuma’s vote of confidence for the tinkhundla system an affront to the oppressed people of Swaziland
The Central Committee of the Communist Party of Swaziland also reflected on the counterrevolutionary manoeuvres of former South African and African National Congress (ANC) president, Jacob Zuma, during his visit to his friend Mswati on Saturday 2 February 2019. Jacob Zuma, during a church service in Mswati’s main palace, Lozitha, publicly gave a full vote of confidence to the oppressive tinkhundla system of Swaziland. Zuma delivered a speech and said Swaziland’s tinkhundla system of governance would last for a long time because the country’s authorities believe in prayer and divine guidance from God. In other words, God, according to Zuma, still wishes that the people of Swaziland be oppressed a little bit more, and that poverty deepens further. Zuma is well aware that, due to tinkhundla governance, close to 70 percent of the people of Swaziland today survive on less than US$2 a day, and that the situation has been worsening over the years.
It is a well-documented fact that Jacob Zuma has for the past thirteen years, at least, been one of the handful useful fools, outside Swaziland, on Mswati’s service, always ready to spread the absolute monarch’s propaganda. His public ejaculations, in praise of Mswati and the brutal tinkhundla system have been widely condemned by the oppressed people of Swaziland.
The world must remember that this is not the first time Zuma has publicly praised Mswati’s brutal rule. In April 2016 Zuma visited Swaziland apparently for talks with Mswati on matters relating to the Southern African Customs Union. He was also the guest of honour at Mswati’s 48th birthday bash in Nhlangano, a small town south of Swaziland. Zuma made a speech during that celebration praising Mswati’s “wisdom” for his ruling style and also suggested that the democratically elected members of South Africa’s National Assembly must follow the “wisdom” of the absolute monarch in order to solve problems in South Africa.
The Central Committee noted that people like Zuma have been allowed to freely visit Swaziland and praise the tinkhundla system for far too long without any serious repercussions. The CPS therefore sees such people as nothing but counterrevolutionaries masquerading as pro-African souls. If Zuma had any revolutionary morality left in his head he would be ashamed of himself. The Central Committee therefore condemned Zuma for his acts and called upon the democracy loving people of Swaziland and South Africa to also condemn such unrepentant loose cannons.
CPS Central Committee condemns South African President Cyril Ramaphosa’s visit to Swaziland and his ignorant acts while in the country
The president of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, visited Swaziland apparently on a “working visit” over the weekend. He held talks with Mswati, watched approvingly as money belonging to the people of Swaziland was being wasted during Mswati’s buganu alcohol drinking festival, and then proclaimed “Now is the time for economic development.” On the other hand, the Mswati regime has been singing Ramaphosa’s praises for being the first ever seating South African president to attend the buganu alcohol drinking festival, boasting about Ramaphosa’s sheer approval of the monarchical dictatorship.
The Joint Bilateral Commission on Cooperation (JBCC) apparently formed part of the discussions between Ramaphosa and Mswati. This JBCC was first secretly entered into between South Africa and Swaziland in 2004, but was exposed in 2011 when the South African government under the leadership of Jacob Zuma had agreed to give R2.4 billion (about US$170 million dollars) to Mswati as a loan to save Swaziland from a disastrous economic situation which was a direct product of the tinkhundla system.
While in Swaziland, Ramaphosa took seriously the duty of flashing his most cherished chameleonic colours and pretended that Swaziland is a normal peaceful and democratic country. The current president of the ANC, Ramaphosa pretended to have no idea that the ANC in its 54th National Conference reflected on the state of the Swazi monarchy and made it clear that Mswati wields executive, judicial and legislative power, that is, is an absolute monarch. The ANC further stated in its resolutions that the people of Swaziland still suffer gross human rights violations and called for the release of all political prisoners, including South African national Comrade Amos Mbedzi who is serving 85 years in Mswati’s jail for his selfless contribution to the struggle for freedom in Swaziland.
It is therefore a tragedy that Ramaphosa has instead chosen to follow his predecessor and prop up the absolute monarch, instead of siding with the people of Swaziland! This effectively means that the South African government will continue to save the absolute monarch, one self-inflicted economic disaster after another, and thus worsen the situation of the people at least in so far as fundamental rights are concerned.
While this cosy cooperation between Ramaphosa and Mswati is depraved, it is nauseating that Ramaphosa went a step further and attempted to rewrite history books with regard to the role played by Swaziland during the struggle against apartheid. He attempted to clean the image of the absolute monarch in this regard. The fact is that the banning of political parties in Swaziland was sponsored by the apartheid regime. This was an attempt by the apartheid regime to crush the ANC and the South African Communist Party (SACP) in Swaziland. For the most part the regime succeeded because Swaziland’s security forces intensified their collaboration with the apartheid regime; arresting, torturing and giving practical assistance to the abduction of ANC and SACP revolutionaries into the apartheid guillotine.
In 1978, Sobhuza’s Prime Minister, Prince Maphevu, was clear that Swaziland was against the imposing of sanctions against the apartheid regime and begged, on behalf of the apartheid regime, the United States to ignore sanction calls by the United Nations and leaders like OR Tambo and others, slandering them as he did so.
As he butchered history, Ramaphosa did not even mention the role of ordinary Swazi nationals who bravely fought against the apartheid regime, with some even participating in the armed struggle. He was only interested in clinching business deals with Mswati, at the expense of the oppressed people of Swaziland.
The CPS Central Committee thus condemned Ramaphosa’s damaging acts, including the visit, and called for the intensification of solidarity work in South Africa and beyond. This solidarity work will contribute in placing the history of our struggle in the correct perspective and galvanise the ordinary people of the world, as opposed to the elites who constantly sell out, to offer solidarity to the people of Swaziland and thus maximise defiance in the maximum number of times.
April 12: CPS to commemorate the day when Sobhuza banned political parties and crowned himself as a dictator
12 April 2019 will mark 46 years since Mswati’s father, the late Sobhuza II, banned political parties and movements, and bestowed all executive, legislative and judicial powers upon the monarch. This is an important day in the calendar of the struggle for freedom in Swaziland. The CPS will do everything practicable to ensure that this day is commemorated and that more people, inside and outside Swaziland, rise up against the tinkhundla system.
CPS Central Committee pays tribute to Hugo Chavez on the anniversary of his death and reiterates the Party’s support for the people of Venezuela against imperialist aggression
The Central Committee of the Communist Party of Swaziland joins the entire world in paying tribute to Hugo Chávez, the late leader of the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela. Hugo Chavez died in Caracas on 5 March 2013 at 16h25 (Venezuelan time). Chavez remains one of the most inspiring working class revolutionaries the world has ever seen. By following an economy based on solidarity, he was able to uplift the economic situation of so many Venezuelans and also of people beyond Venezuela. Notably, Venezuela has donated heating oil to hundreds of thousands of poor people in the United States who have continuously been left to freeze in the cold during the devastating winter months by the United States capitalist regime. The awe-inspiring CITGO-Venezuela Heating Oil Program, an incredible act of solidarity by the people of Venezuela, was launched by Chavez in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina which had left untold devastation on poor people, especially after having been abandoned by the George Bush regime.
Chavez died, but the revolutionary fires he helped to lit continue to burn, inspiring billions of workers across the globe, including Swaziland, to forge ahead and wage relentless struggles against the exploitation and oppression of one by another.
The Central Committee also extends its solidarity to the people of Venezuela who are currently engaged in averting an imperialist aggression led by the United States. The United States has been attempting to impose an unelected individual as president of Venezuela when the people of Venezuela freely elected President Nicolás Maduro during the country’s democratic elections in May 2018. It is important to mention that the political system of Venezuela is a democratic and transparent one; hence one who loses an election simply has to abide by the people’s popular voice. It was in this spirit that President Maduro easily respected and accepted the outcome when his party lost the National Assembly election in 2015.
The intentions of the United Sates in Venezuela are about the control of Venezuela’s natural resources, primarily oil, and placing its foot firmly in Latin American politics in order to protect its economic interests.
Support for the upcoming Israeli Apartheid Week 2019
The Central Committee noted Israel’s intensification of the oppression of Palestinians. There is urgent need to engage in, and intensify our, practical solidarity with the people of Palestine, and particularly add more voices to the Palestinian cause. The Communist Party of Swaziland will thus be part of all practical efforts to ensure the increase and amplification of such voices inside Swaziland to condemn Zionist Israel’s occupation of Palestine, beginning with the upcoming Israeli Apartheid Week.
This year the Israeli Apartheid Week will be held from 1 to 7 April 2019.
CPS Annual National Conference to be held in April 2019
The Communist Party of Swaziland will convene its Annual National Conference from 18 to 22 April 2019. The Conference will take stock of current events, trace, using the materialist conception of history, their historical background, and draw up a concise plan for the implementation of the Party’s Programme of Action. The context of the way forward will be the intensification of the national and international defiance campaign against the Mswati autocracy. The focus of the conference shall be mainly on the practical ways to maximise defiance in the maximum number of sites for the total overthrow of the Mswati autocracy.
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