A banned opposition party in the tiny kingdom of Swaziland has begged the international community to impose ‘targeted sanctions’ on the ruling elite in that country.
Swaziland’s leading opposition party, the People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO), has Mario Masuku asked for international sanctions against the kingdom while accepting an award in Denmark.
PUDEMO was branded a terrorists group by the Swazi government and is among countless political parties and organisations banned in the impoverished landlocked kingdom in 1973.
According to reports from the kingdom, in his acceptance speech Masuku is quoted saying that the generous donations that Denmark parcels out are not used for the benefit of the people but a few corrupt elements within government.
Said Masuku, “We therefore call upon you to use your influence in the European Union to exert political and economic pressure on the ruling elite in Swaziland.
“We call on you to apply targeted sanctions that will restrict the travel of the oppressive regime to your countries. We call on you to support the voice of the people of Swaziland in their call for democracy. Stop selling weapons to Swaziland”.
Denmark is one of Swaziland’s main donors.
The call for sanctions comes at a time when another Southern African nation, Zimbabwe, through President Mugabe’s Zanu PF are asking the West to lift sanctions imposed on a few individuals.
Swaziland is under the firm grip of King Mswati III, Africa’s last absolute monarch.
The king rules by decree over his million subjects, most of whom live in the countryside and follow traditional ways of life.
The power of the throne, however, has not gone unchallenged.
In the past King Mswati has said his country is “not ready for political parties” saying the country’s economy must improve before parties are allowed.