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3 pro-democracy groups at war

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MBABANE – Three of Swaziland’s pro-democracy groups are involved in a bitter war against each other that could potentially end their unity.

The warring factions include the Swaziland National Union of Students, the Swaziland Solidarity Network based in South Africa and Swazi April 12 Uprising group. So tense is the fight, SNUS has called for SSN’s self-exiled Chairperson Lucky Lukhele to be kicked out of the organisation or alternatively for the whole organisation to be disbanded. Sparking the brawl is an article titled ‘the democratic movement that cried wolf’ written by Peter Kenworthy of the Danish NGO Africa Contact.

In the article, Kenworthy suggested that some pro-democracy activists, including the SSN and Swazi April 12 Uprising group, had exaggerated how close Swaziland was to a revolution.

The SSN through Lucky Lukhele reacted angrily to the article and called Kenworthy all sorts of derogatory names and also denounced the Africa Contact.

In response SNUS staged a scathing attack on Lukhele, the SSN and the April 12 Uprising group. SNUS through Secretary General Samkeliso Ginindza issued a statement questioning Lukhele’s academic background, his reasons for being in exile and his understanding of the pro-democracy movement in Swaziland.

SNUS dragged the name of the banned People’s United Democratic Movement (pudemo) into the fray and said the latter was the one to better deal with Lukhele and SSN. "We will demand that Pudemo Implements the West-ville resolution that exiles must be kicked out of solidarity networks. We do not own (sic) anything to SSN. In fact of late they have been a liability to the struggle of Swaziland hence a need to seriously look at their role and relevance at this hour," SNUS said.

 The students continued: "SNUS has actually lost the little respect they had for this organisation. If need be, a new solidarity block that will seek to profile the struggle of Swaziland internationally and render solidarity to the people of Swaziland must be formed to organise the individuals who truly want to assist the people of Swaziland to earn liberation.


And Lucky in the current juncture must go and upgrade his marks so that he will be accepted at tertiary institutions to further his studies otherwise he will be a driver in the new democratic dispensation since we will need people with qualifications to actually take the country forward." Lukhele was accused by the SNUS of failing to read and understand Kenworthy’s article yet the latter was an ‘internationalist and true solidarity friend’ of the pro-democracy movement in Swaziland.

"This is so because had he been clever and intelligence (sic) enough, he would had (sic) seen that the article was a constructive criticism of the broad, mass democratic movement in Swazi-land," the students said.

The students argued that Kenworthy and Africa Contact had contributed financially and otherwise to strengthening of SNUS and other pro-democracy groups, something that SSN did not comprehend. "It (SSN) has now turned out to be an organisation of statements and has lost focus. Jack Govender and Musa must be turning in utter disgust by what Lucky is doing in SSN," SNUS added.

Lucky is credited with having distabilised the prodemocracy movement in Swaziland by allegedly trying to influence leadership change in PUDEMO, a move that SNUS said failed ‘dismally’.


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