Call to bar Swazi king

Canaan Mdletshe

Canaan Mdletshe

A call by the Swaziland Solidarity Network for King Mswati III not to attend President Jacob Zuma's inauguration tomorrow has been backed by Cosatu.

Yesterday, Cosatu spokesperson Patrick Crave said they supported the SSN's call.

Craven said Zuma's inauguration will be a celebration of democracy, the culmination of a long process in which first the rank-and-file of the ANC and then the people of South Africa have elected a president and government of their choice.

"Mswati, on the other hand, was elected by nobody. He inherited his position of absolute power and has used it to deny his people any democratic rights.

"The leader of the Pudemo [People's United Democratic Movement] opposition Mario Masuku has been in jail since last November, opposition parties remain banned, trade union rights are curtailed and any demonstrations are ruthlessly suppressed. The presence of this despot at the inauguration will be an insult to all the people of Africa.

"It will give him credibility and democratic credentials he does not deserve," Craven said.

On Tuesday, the SSN said, unlike the Swazi monarch, Zuma was a democrat and a product of popular grassroots participation by ordinary members of the ANC.

"Zuma has never spent R100million on his birthday or R50million on 20 luxury Mercedes Benz S600 with plasma screens and fridges inside, while his people go hungry," said SSN spokesperson Lucky Lukhele.

Lukhele said the presence of Mswati at the inauguration would be a major travesty.

"Mswati must stay at home and release Pudemo president Mario Masuku. He must unban political parties and allow a new people centered constitutional development process and democratise Swaziland," he said.