Boycott, disrupt Eswatini's 'backward' Tinkhundla elections process - Communist Party of Swaziland

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  • The Communist Party of Swaziland called on the youth to challenge King Mswati III.
  • The party wants a boycott of the "backward" Tinkhundla electoral system.
  • The military and police beat up the leader of the Swaziland National Union of Students.

The Communist Party of Swaziland (CPS) called on "consistent mobilisation of the youth for total democracy", against the backdrop of the assault of a student union leader by the military and police on Tuesday.

In a statement, the CPS said: "The youth must not be hoodwinked into participating in the backward Tinkhundla elections. These elections, no matter how many so-called 'radicals' partake, are meant to legitimise the ruling absolute monarchy and deepen the autocracy."

Tinkhundla is an electoral system that serves as a form of governance, based on traditional, administrative subdivisions.

Eswatini has 55 Tinkhundlas in the country's four districts. There are 14 in Hhohho District, 11 in Lubombo District, 16 in Manzini District, and 14 in Shishelweni District.

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The opposition and pressure groups in the country say King Mswati III uses the Tinkhundla as a disguise for democracy.

King Mswati III's father, King Sobhuza II, banned all political parties in 1973 from partaking in elections. As such, people who enter the Tinkhundla electoral system do so on individual merit.

The CPS said that, to cut Mswati III's hold on the country, the Tinkhundla system should be disrupted.

"The CPS calls for the total boycott and disruption of the Tinkhundla elections process, to make the country ungovernable by the Mswati autocracy, to usher the country to total democracy," the party said.

Student leader attacked

Colani Maseko, the president of the Swaziland National Union of Students (SNUS), who has a long history of resistance, was on Tuesday assaulted by the military and police, along with other students who "had been protesting for scholarships for all, allowances, better living conditions, and democracy", CPS said.

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Last Friday, Maseko led a protest to mark the first anniversary of the killing of Thabani Nkomonye.

Nkomonye's mutilated body was found a year ago, with student activists blaming the police.

Reports in Eswatini say that, on Friday, an estimated 2 000 protesters marched through the capital, Manzini, but police used teargas and rubber bullets to disperse the crowd. The march was organised by Maseko's SNUS.

It's alleged that Maseko was attacked on Tuesday by the military and police in retaliation for the Friday march.


The News24 Africa Desk is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation. The stories produced through the Africa Desk and the opinions and statements that may be contained herein do not reflect those of the Hanns Seidel Foundation.

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