Solidarité internationale et luttes sociales en Afrique subsaharienne
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Afrique du Sud
Memorandum from the South African Progressive Forces for international solidarity
7 March 2008
Memorandum from the South African Progressive Forces for international solidarity, gathered on the 7th day of March 2008 at the Embassy of Swaziland in support of freedom and democracy in Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Kenya and for the restoration of civilian political rule in Myanmar/Burma.
We the people of South Africa, gathered under the banner of the International Solidarity Forum, led principally by the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) and the South African Communist Party, supported in this action by the Zimbabwe Solidarity Forum in South Africa, the Swaziland Solidarity Network, the Young Communists League, the South African NGO Coalition, Free Burma Campaign, End Occupation Campaign, Western Sahara Solidarity Forum, the Anti-Privatisation Forum, South African Social Movements and progressive South African civil society organisations that include youth, women, labour, faith based institutions, human rights organisations and student formations that are engaged in the promotion of principled solidarity, peace, democracy and the respect for human rights.
We are gathered today with comrades and friends, the working class and the poor, struggling under the harsh social, political and economic conditions imposed on the populations of these African countries by the repressive and corrupt political elite of Zimbabwe, the repressive Royal dictatorship of Swaziland, the expediency of the Kenyan political leadership, the horrors of the Myanmar military junta in Burma, weak and ineffective SADC and AU institutions and the indolence of the South African Department of Home Affairs and the police.
Together we have marched from the Union Buildings in Pretoria to assert loudly and clearly to the diplomatic representatives of Kenya, Swaziland and Zimbabwe that enough is enough. Democracy is supposed to enable the expression of the will of the majority. It is one of the few mechanisms by which leaders must be held accountable. Yet you and your governments are subverting and repressing these systems.
In the context of our background of solidarity and internationalism, supported by many countries in Africa and throughout the world, in our struggle against a brutal system of apartheid, we demonstrate our internationalism and our deep seated anger at your enslavement of people in your countries.
On this the 7th day of March 2008 we amplify the voices of progressive forces from across the region, throughout the continent and from around the world. We demand that these voices be heard.
Since 1973, Swaziland political parties remain banned. The struggle for the basic democratic political environment, for credible, free and fair, election continues. Much of this is the result of the willingness with which the Swazi King has led the country to become a greedy part of the imperialist predatory system. A system which ignores the fundamental rights of the people to freedom, democracy and dignity associated with their demands. The repression in Swaziland cannot be justified under any circumstances. It is carried out to defend a system based on the rule by a wealthy royal elite and its networks, using the vicious suppression of human rights. Obscene wealth for a few in the midst of extreme poverty and rising rates of HIV/AIDS infections and deaths remain unchecked.
We are aware of your royal government plans, to hold a farcical elections in 2008, in pursuit of the legitimation of your obsolete political agendas, to maintain the status quo. We jointly pronounce with the people of Swaziland, the wide repudiation of these banana republic elections. These elections are neither meant for the people to demonstrate their collective demands through a participatory democratic process, nor will they reflect in any way, the will of the people of Swaziland.
The well documented intensifying repression that is being used against the people of Swaziland, indicate that the challenges in Swaziland will not be resolved through a deeply flawed and the veneer of façade highly criticised election process.
The extent to which African leadership are held accountable for their actions and to which SADC and the African Union are able to assert a progressive agenda will set precedents that will have far reaching implications for regional security and the general credibility of African institutions.
There is still an opportunity in Zimbabwe to show clearly that Robert Mugabe has been the spoiler in this process, the evidence is there. There is still an opportunity for SADC to demand that Swaziland respect the democratic culture of the region.
We therefore demand that your government:
- Unbans all political parties, release political prisoners and allow the freedom and tolerance of expression of different political opinions, with free access to the media, judiciary, security and other state institutions
Initiates a serious national political process of dialogue and negotiations with the liberation movement PUDEMO and other stakeholders
Allow the return to Swaziland of all exiles and to create conducive climate for the repatriation and participation in the governance affairs and reconstruction of the country
Allow a democratic national constituent assembly to a new constitution in conditions of democratic and free participation
An end to the planned farcical national elections, and the channelling of those rare resources to poverty eradication and tackling of the scourge of HIV/AIDS
The institution of free multiparty electoral contest on the basis of universally acclaimed democratic norms and principles
Institute a dispensation for the separation of powers between the executive, the judiciary and the legislative state functions
Initiate constitutional, political, economic and social transformation processes that fundamentally change the power relations within your countries and alleviates the catastrophic poverty situation
We urge your government should respond to these demands within 10 days of the handing of the memorandum
7 March 2008
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