13 December 2013

Swaziland: Anger Over Mandela Prayer Blockade

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) has joined a growing chorus of condemnation of Swaziland for blocking a peaceful memorial service in the kingdom for Nelson Mandela on Friday (13 December 2013).

Bongani Masuku, COSATU Secretary of International Affairs, said, 'It is the most desperate act of shame imaginable.'

Swaziland police blocked the Lutheran Church in Manzini, Swaziland's main business city, to stop a service to mourn the death of Mandela. It had been organised by the Swaziland United Democratic Front (SUDF), an organisation that is campaigning for democracy in Swaziland, where King Mswati III rules as sub-Saharan Africa's last absolute monarch.

Masuku said in a statement, 'When the whole world recognises that whether you want freedom or not, it shall eventually come, we have a denialist of note in Mswati. He still entertains the illusion that he can stop the tide of freedom by closing out those who represents the best in human values.'

Earlier, the People's United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO), a political party, which like all others is banned in Swaziland, said, 'Swaziland has proven yet again to be the skunk of the world by breaking up a peaceful memorial service to honour Mandela.'

It added, 'The Swazi regime continues to show its intolerance for anything resembling democracy by forcing a halt of a Mandela memorial in Swaziland.'

Masuku of COSATU said, 'In the same way that the apartheid regime failed to stop Madiba for more than 30 years of the long walk, they won't stop the people of Swaziland and the world in pushing forward with the cause.

Mandela was labelled a terrorist in apartheid RSA [South Africa] and PUDEMO have been declared terrorists too, what a striking similarity, what a common future for all freedom fighters.'

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