20 February 2017
The Peoples United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO) has noted and rejects, with the contempt they deserve, reports on the media, specifically the Times of Swaziland, dated 20 February 2017, that the movement intends to participate in planned Tinkhundla 2018 National “Elections”. Toward this end PUDEMO would like to retaliate the following:
PUDEMO WILL NOT BE PARTICIPATING IN TINKHUNDLA 2018 “ELECTIONS”
PUDEMO has no funders, and the accompanying insinuations that it is these imaginary donors that are either forcing PUDEMO to participate is both unfounded and baseless. We again place it on record that the movement has no donors and has never had one. Instead, the movement has allied organizations some of which have ongoing joint partnership programs with the movement. The relationship with these progressive organizations is that of equal partners, not a donor – recipient nature.
PUDEMO is not afraid of elections, and remains committed to taking part in Swaziland National Elections, that will be conducted under conditions that guarantee a democratic, free, fair, meaningful and transparent process, not the current royal sham. The current Tinkhundla elections has no effect in the political life of the country, as power remains concentrated in royal hands, and all meaningful decisions are made through royal command. PUDEMO has no intention, now or in the future to associate its glorious name and record of struggle with such a royal grand scam to defraud our people of their right to democratically and freely elect a government of their own. We remain unshaken in the belief that working together with our people victory is certain.
PUDEMO is alive that as 2018 approaches, the locally and internationally discredited Tinkhundla regime will try all sorts of desperate attempts to bring the good name of PUDEMO to its royal circus, in an attempt to lend credence to this meaningless sham already battling legitimacy even from institutions and organizations that hereinto supported this royal regime like the Commonwealth and recently SADC election observer mission.
PUDEMO is a democratic movement and therefore all major policy shifts have to be endorsed by the highest structures of the organization and in this case a National Congress. If PUDEMO changes its position with regards to the Tinkhundla elections, this will be formally debated which would include stocktaking of the successes of the non-participation strategy and failures thereof.
PUDEMO is not a rigid movement that is stuck on dogmatic tactics of the past especially as they relate to issues of tactics not principles. For that reason PUDEMO constantly opens up forums to assess balance of forces both internally and externally, and to weigh the objective and subjective factors that influence our revolution. This is so that PUDEMO can take the appropriate political positions informed by rigorous and scientific analysis of contemporary Swaziland and momentum of struggle at each epoch. This has always been the fundamental principle that informs PUDEMO’s unwavering position on the Tinkhundla elections, it will not be changing soon.
Our people need to be constantly reminded that even if PUDEMO were to pass a resounding resolution to participate in the Tinkhundla elections, it is legally impossible to do so as a political party, owing to the plethora of laws that militate against group representation in Tinkhundla parliament. Tied to this is the fact that even by some stroke of miracle and luck all 55 directly elected members of parliament were to be PUDEMO members, the current Constitutional configuration gives disproportionate powers to the King and many other unaccountable and shady royal structures that it would ultimately be an exercise in futility thinking we can change the system from within.
PUDEMO is a voluntary organization and people join it based on the understanding that they agree with our objectives, mission, and goals. If, however, people find these goals repugnant with their personal ambitions they are free to surrender their membership, and do as they personally please. Otherwise, all PUDEMO members remain free to influence the organization through the constitutional structures of the movement and win the majority view. In the event they don’t, they are obliged to respect the majority position and abide by it.
We further reject any attempt that elevates Cde Maxwell Dlamini to a policy spokesperson of PUDEMO, or a representative of any PUDEMO’s official position. Cde Maxwell is a leader in SWAYOCO, and doesn’t speak on behalf of PUDEMO. We advise the media to contact appropriate PUDEMO officials for any official view of the movement.
Statement issued by the office of the Secretary General