afrol News, 30 November - PUDEMO, the banned opposition of Swaziland, has announced that "the year 2011 must begin with a bang." An opposition congress in January is to plan for a democratic revolution in the kingdom.
PUDEMO is the main opposition grouping of the Swazi kingdom, a country that for 37 years has been ruled under a state of emergency that banned political parties and labour unions and criminalised all political activity.
During the last few years, however, the political struggle in Swaziland is widening, with King Mswati's scandalous personal spending contrasting the deepening poverty and AIDS crisis in the country. Police brutality against PUDEMO and trade unionists has angered the population and neighbouring states such as South Africa.
PUDEMO hopes to capitalise on the growing sympathy. While the banned party came to exist 28 years ago, it plans to organise its 7th general congress on 6-9 January 2011 at an undisclosed place, the party leadership decided this weekend.
The congress is "expected to provide the impetus for the turning point in the history of the movement and the struggle for democracy in Swaziland," according to the party leadership, which had concluded that "the year 2011 must begin with a bang."
The congress was to be held under the theme "Building a national momentum as we advance towards multiparty democracy." The aim of the PUDEMO congress was to prepare for a democratic revolution in the authoritarian kingdom.
The congress was expected to address a number of issues among which is "the role of the institution of the monarchy in a democratic dispensation; organisational cohesion and renewal; building a strong mass democratic movement for change; leadership issues; and the type of movement that is required under the given political terrain in Swaziland."
"The 250 delegates coming from branches of the movement throughout the country will descend on the congress venue to chart a way forward for the struggle for democracy in Swaziland," according to PUDEMO spokesperson Zakhele Mabuza.
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