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PARTY BEHIND WILD GRAFFITI UNMASKED

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MBABANE – Is a well-known political activist linked to the political party which is allegedly responsible for the graffiti which ‘decorated’ several walls in the capital city recently?


The paintings bear the acronym EFDC, which the police have said stood for the Economic Forum for Democratic Change.
Coincidentally, the progressive, George Hleta, visited the Times of Swaziland offices in December last year and said he had come to request the newspaper to publish an article about a new party he and other individuals had formed whose name was similar to the EFDC.


He introduced it as one whose aim was to be an umbrella body for all political parties in the country.
Hleta is the same man whose picture, where he was being throttled by members of the Royal Eswatini Police Service, was splashed on this newspaper’s front page and further trended on various online pages of international human rights organisations.


Blockade


This happened in April 2007 during a blockade staged by progressives, including those from South Africa, at the Ngwenya Border Gate.
Hleta visited this publication’s offices on December 28, 2018, where he explained that the new party was to be launched in January this year.
In a recorded interview conducted by this reporter, he stated that the forum was to ensure unity among political parties.


“We have seen that some of the local parties have been taking decisions wrongly so we felt if we had one umbrella body, it would lead to progress,” he said.
It should be noted that Hleta has for years been part of the struggle and participated in most progressive marches, especially those organised by parties such as the People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO).


This reporter asked him if the new forum would not in any way be in conflict with the mission of PUDEMO, to which he responded and said it would not be the case.
“Ours is to strengthen the already existing parties by unitising the ideas they have. We are not here to disrupt PUDEMO and other parties but we want to strengthen the struggle,” he said.


Interestingly, the police have alleged that the EFDC was a new organisation formed by defector members of PUDEMO, something which the party’s executive vehemently denied.
During the interview, the progressive alleged that he was a staunch member of the party.


“I am fully hearted when it comes to PUDEMO. When you talk of that party, you refer to me. The others come after,” be boasted.
However, after the interview, this reporter contacted one of the executive members of PUDEMO to ascertain if they knew Hleta.
The executive member, who was asked through WhatsApp, said he had no knowledge of the man.


Recollection


“I have no recollection of him at all. We are too many and it is impossible to remember each and every member,” he said.
Elaborating on the new organisation, Hleta stated that it was going to be driven by the ideas of the various parties and would represent them fully. He said they had noted that there were many issues that existing parties did not address.


“We have seen that elders in our parties sometimes become biased and go slow whenever it comes to ideas for change. There is something lacking in the leaders of the parties we currently have. The best way to solve that is to form this forum which will collect the different ideas and have one solid mind,” he said.


He said they were preparing for a congress where the party was to be formally launched and introduced to the world plus have its mission outlined. The congress, according to the man, was where an executive was going to be elected to lead the party.


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