Political parties in Swaziland - some of them outlawed - have joined together to try to force an end to the rule of absolute monarch, King Mswati III.
Their leaders intend to march on Wednesday (13 November 2019) to deliver a petition to Swazi Prime Minister Ambrose Dlamini. They will also petition the South African High Commission to Swaziland, saying it is the accomplice and beneficiary of the 'royal dictatorship'.
This will be followed on Saturday by a public gathering in Manzini.
The political parties include the Ngwane National Liberation Congress (NNLC), the Communist Party of Swaziland (CPS), the Swazi Democratic Party (SDP) and the People's United Democratic Party (PUDEMO). They have formed a grouping called the Political Parties Assembly (PPA).
In Swaziland, political groups advocating for democracy are banned under the Suppression of Terrorism Act.
All political parties are banned from taking part in elections and the King appoints the government.
In a statement the PPA said it wanted to end the kingdom's form of government, known as Tinkhundla, or monarchical democracy. They want power returned to the people.
PPA stated, 'We unanimously observed that the royal project Tinkhundla has reached a point of no return in dragging down our dignity and stretching beyond limits our patience as a people.'
The announcement came days after it was revealed the King had taken delivery of at least 15 Rolls-Royce cars for his wives and family and 79 luxury BMW cars worth US$6 million for 'escort duties'.
PPA said, 'Brazen looting and plunder of national resources by the monarchy have reached levels unmatched in history, plunging our people into unbearable conditions as witnessed through escalating cost of living, crisis in education and health, high unemployment as well as poor general service delivery.'
In a statement, Mduduzi Gina, Secretary General of the Trade Union Congress of Swaziland (TUCOSWA), said, 'A petition should be delivered to the office of the Prime Minister and other Ministries by the PPA lead coalition on Wednesday November 13 in Mbabane. A Mass Meeting of every concerned organizations and persons shall be convened on Saturday 16th, November at the SNAT Center starting at 0900hrs. A long-term program of action will be taken for implementation in the mass meeting envisaged. Any changes if any, will be communicated in due as we receive direction from the PPA.'