26 February 2018

Swaziland: U.S. Ambassador Supports Parties

The United States Ambassador to Swaziland Lisa Peterson has spoken out in support of banned political parties in the kingdom where King Mswati III rules as an absolute monarch.

Parties are not allowed to contest for elections and people and groups that advocate for democratic reform are prosecuted under the Suppression of Terrorism Act.

International organisations such as the European Union and Commonwealth routinely declare that Swaziland's elections are not free and fair because parties are banned from taking part. After the last election in 2013, the Commonwealth Observer Mission and African Union separately called for a review of the kingdom's constitution to un-ban parties.

The King chooses the Prime Minister and top government ministers.

Peterson spoke at a meeting of editors on Friday (23 February 2018). She said polling suggested that people in Swaziland did not support political parties. She said, 'For me that speaks to people not seeing what a political party can do for them. You need to build understanding and policy of advocacy at the grass root level so that you can get a number of people thinking in a similar manner.'

She said political entities that supported parties in Swaziland needed to work on the ground to change people's minds about the value of political parties. 'Each party or grouping needs to go about it in the way that works best,' she said.

She added, 'That plays a part in getting every average Swazi to understand why a political parties might be useful.'

Three political parties have already announced their intention to seek a court ruling to un-ban parties ahead of the election due some time in late 2018. They are the People's United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO); the Swaziland Democratic Party (SWADEPA) and the Ngwane National Liberatory Congress (NNLC).

Swaziland

People Offer Bribes to Members of Swaziland's House of Assembly for Seat On Kingdom's Senate

Credible evidence is emerging that people are offering bribes to members of the House of Assembly to be given a seat on… Read more »

See What Everyone is Watching

Copyright © 2018 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 600 reports a day from more than 140 news organizations and over 500 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.