31 October 2012

Swaziland: UK Calls for Parties to Be Unbanned

The UK Government has called for political parties to be unbanned in Swaziland and for them to be allowed to contest national elections next year.

UK Foreign Office Minister Mark Simmonds told the House of Commons yesterday (30 October 2012), the 'UK continues to urge the Government there [Swaziland] to ensure that all political parties are able to operate freely and participate in the elections scheduled for September 2013. We believe that the people of Swaziland want political parties and we call on the Government there to respect their wishes.'

Simmonds was responding to concerns raised by MP James Duddridge that the UK was not doing enough to encourage King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa's last absolute monarch, 'to be a little more sympathetic and tolerant of the existence of political parties'.

Simmonds added, 'I can also confirm that our high commissioner will be visiting Swaziland in November to participate in discussions and will use the opportunity to underline the UK's concerns about the current political and economic environment and press for reform.'

Duddridge, at one time worked at Barclays Bank in Swaziland with Mario Masuku, the President of the People's United Democratic Party (PUDEMO), an organisation banned by King Mswati.

Copyright © 2012 Swazi Media Commentary. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.