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DeNmark parliament gives Mario democracy award

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MBABANE: Swazi citizen Mario Masuku, has been awarded a democracy award by Denmark’s Parliament.

Masuku, who was recently acquitted on terrorism charges, will officially receive the award on March 15, at 2pm in the Danish Parliament.

A solidarity group based in Denmark has motivated for Masuku to receive the democracy award for fighting for peace and democracy in Swaziland.
The award will be handed to Masuku by Mogens Lykketoft, a former Danish MP and Cabinet Minister.

This newspaper has been informed that Masuku was being awarded in recognition of his role in trying to change what is described as an undemocratic system in Swaziland and leading the liberation struggle.
One of the people who have been key in seeing Masuku being awarded, Nanna Olesen, said they hoped that the people of Swaziland were still keeping the spirit high.
“This is a prize which is to be given to a special person who is fighting for democracy in some place/country in the world,” reads the statement.

“We want to give the Democracy Prize 2010 to Mario Masuku. We believe Mario Masuku’s work is very important for the people of Swaziland. We hope by giving this prize that it will contribute in making Swaziland a land with democracy, free elections and human rights. We also hope by giving this prize that the media in Swaziland will focus more on the important fight for democracy which Mario Masuku is doing,” adds the statement.
Lykketoft was for some years ago the leader of the party Social Demokratiet (The Social Democracy Party) which at the present time is the biggest party in Denmark. Lykketoft was also a big opponent of the apartheid-system in South Africa.

Political activist Zakhele Mabuza said they congratulate Masuku as well as the entire progressive movement in Swaziland for achieving the award.
“We are aware that as a humble servant of the people he did not expect to get any awards for his sacrifices. His greatest award will be to see all the people of Swaziland free and living a better life. This award shows that the days of an undemocratic country are numbered,” he said.

Masuku said the award was a great honour not only to him but the poor, marginalised and suffering people of Swaziland. He said logistics of how he will receive the award were yet to be discussed formally and offici-ally.
“To me this is a great honour from the democracy loving people of Denmark and the world over. This award will be received by me on behalf of the poor of the poorest.

This award comes with a lot of responsibilities and years of sacrifice. It shall spur me on until there is democracy in Swaziland,” Masuku said.
Government Spokesperson Macanjana Motsa said they would not even comment about the award because PUDEMO, the party that Masuku leads was a banned and non-existent organisation.

…it’s unfortunate- Minister Lutfo

MBABANE- Minister of Foreign Affairs Lutfo Dlamini said he was not aware of the reports of Masuku receiving an award from Denmark.

“I am not aware of these reports and therefore will need to look into the matter before I can comment then get back to you,” said Dlamini last night.

Dlamini was responding to a question by this newspaper on what political and diplomatic implications would this award have on the ties the country has with Denmark given that Masuku leads a banned political party.
PUDEMO was branded a terrorists group by government.

“Unfortunately I cannot rely only on media reports. At face value it is unfortunate especially when one considers the strong ties we have with the Danish government. One would have expected them to inform us on the matter considering our relationship,” said Dlamini.

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