Saturday, February 21, 2009

Release Mario campaign kicks off in South Africa

Release Mario campaign kicks off in South Africa
Swazi News February 21,2009

MBABANE- The Release Mario Masuku campaign kicked off in South Africa as the Swaziland Solidarity Network demonstrators continue to pile pressure on the Swazi authorities to release him.

They further called for a political dialogue.

Demonstrators yesterday gathered at the Swaziland Consulate in Braamfontein to protest about the continued incarceration of Masuku as well as the failure by government to open space for dialogue.

Information sourced from the web is that workers from around the area participated in the protest and were seen submitting their details in large numbers for future contacts.


The organisations present at the picket included, Congress of South Africans, Wits University Students, the Young Communist League, Zimbabwe Solidarity Forum, NEHAWU, SACCAWU, SACP, ANC and COSATU.

When asked about the reason for joining the protest, Lindokuhle, a Grade 10 pupil said, "I’m a Swazi and I don’t support what’s happening at home. It hurts me to see people being abused especially as girls. We are suffering and it is an honour to be part of an organisation that’s doing something about Swaziland."

A Wits student, Ngoako Matsha said, "Its time for King Mswati to give democracy a chance in Swaziland. People don’t get the freedom they deserve. We should give democracy a chance."

The organisers of the protest were preparing to meet with the Swaziland authorities. Mosala Ramailane, one of the coordinators, said they were not submitting another memo this time around, but would ask the authorities for an official government response to last Friday’s memorandum.

The demonstrations are expected to continue until the release of the People’s United Democratic Movement (PUD-EMO) President from jail. The demonstrators last week handed a memorandum through a security guard at the consulate. Representatives of the Swaziland authorities have only in one instance sent a Consular to collect the statement of demands from the demonstrators. This was in October 2008 after the government attempted to ban the Southern Africa Social Forum in Manzini.

The consulate has since refused to meet the protesters. Previously, the embassy staff had left offices open and hid themselves in one of their offices for 20 minutes only to send one of their cleaning staff to speak to the protesters.


Last week’s memorandum was also copied to the SA Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the President of the Republic of South Africa Kgalema Motlanthe in his capacity as Chairperson of SADC. There is also an Internet petition website dedicated to the release of Masuku at and already has 81 people who have signed it.

Government spokesperson Macanjana Motsa said they were taking this matter up with the Principal Secretary in the Prime Minister’s office Lomathemba Hlophe who will in turn discuss with Foreign Affairs PS in order to maintain diplomatic channels in dealing with the matter.

She said they wanted to maintain the diplomatic channels because this was a matter that involved another country.