The opposition Botswana National Front has called on Swaziland King Mswati III to step down and give way to free political activity and democracy.
BNF Publicity Secretary Moeti Mohwasa said in a statement on Monday that they support the people of Swaziland’s struggle for justice and┬ádemocracy, as they believe the time for a new dispensation has arrived.
“We salute those who have thrown away fear and are fighting for the liberation of Swaziland. The revolutionary upsurge of the Swazi people is welcome. A time┬ácomes when silence is betrayal, and that time has come for Swaziland,” he said.
Mohwasa challenged the Botswana Democratic Party government to state her stance on Swaziland.
Botswana has been under intense pressure from opposition parties and civil society, who challenged her to denounce King Mswati III’s government as she did with other African states.
“We┬áare also still to hear what the position of the neo-liberal BDP is. True to its neo-colonialist nature, the┬áBDP has ironically been too quiet on Swaziland but very noisy┬áon Zimbabwe, Ivory Coast┬áand┬áLibya. The┬áoppression of the┬ápeople of┬áSwaziland by Mswati III can no longer┬ábe tolerated. Mswati III, who is the last absolute monarchy, must go,” said Mohwasa.
While reports have been filtering through about the escalating unrest in Swaziland, Botswana has remained mum on the issue, save to say that she respects Swaziland’s sovereignty. The situation has since taken a turn for the worst, with government using force to stamp down on demonstrations. The Swaziland government enacted the Anti-terrorism and Suppression of Seditious Activities legislation to curb dissent. Mswati’s opponents are frequently intimidated and arrested, while some of them have been jailed, exiled or killed.
Mohwasa said the beginning of an end to the despotic┬árule of King Mswati III┬áis now a reality, adding that no amount of force can stand in the way of┬ádemocracy and freedom. He urged Mswati III’s opponents to borrow a leaf from the people of Tunisia and Egypt, who refused to allow themselves to be used as pawns by the west to mortgage their country in the fight for democracy.
“They are now charting┬átheir countries’ destiny without┬áapportionment of┬átheir countries’ natural resources.┬áWhile the oppressor uses guns, you have your power to┬áremove him. Use that power,” said Mohwasa.
He urged the SADC┬áand AU to push Mswati┬áIII┬áto┬árelinquish state power┬áand allow for free and fair elections, saying Swaziland is a threat to stability,┬ájustice and┬ápeace in the region.┬á
“The biggest threat is the King himself and we wonder why the Botswana government, which has a penchant for breaking ranks with the rest of the region and the continent, remains silent.┬áThe Botswana government’s tendency of waiting first to pick a cue from the West is disturbing.
This┬áattitude┬álacks principle and┬áis┬áa threat to peace and stability in the region,” said Mohwasa.┬á┬á┬á┬á┬á