HELLO FROM THE OTHER SIDE: AMERICAN ACTIVIST SHARES IDEAS WITH SWAZI PROGRESSIVES

I think the Progressives have made a lot of progress especially since 2021 after the sad event that started this new chapter.

I think the idea of democracy has been pushed more firmly into the minds of all the people in the nation, and the monopoly of the media by the government since the 1970s has finally been ended through the use of social media. I think this is a huge change that is underestimated.

Also, the government is performing very poorly on the economy and this is hurting their support among the people. The regime will end someday and if the trends continue the Progressives can win the approval of the majority of the people soon.

I have been involved in many political campaigns in the United States and I see how the struggle in eSwatini has both similarities and differences with American political campaigns. The struggle in eSwatini is much more complex and long term than a normal US political campaign

However, there are also many similarities between the two as well. I believe one political tactic that is not used enough in all campaigns is for people to talk to their family and friends about the political issues and encourage them to join their side.

This is a very important tactic especially in eSwatini. We know the Monarchy regime desperately wants to prevent people from speaking about any political topics.

We all saw the man at Sibaya who had the microphone ripped from his hands and we all know of the MPs who are now in jail. In fact, the government often doesn't even vote on world issues in the United Nations for fear of starting political debates at home. Why?

Because the regime needs silence and for the people to obey, the regime knows it cannot win political arguments. It is a weak form of government that has fundamental flaws which are always exposed during conversations on political issues.

The more politics is spoken about in the country the weaker the regime will become. Why is it important to talk to your family and friends about politics? They may be able to rip a microphone away or throw someone in jail but no government can prevent you from talking to your family and your friends.

People listen most to those they know and trust and they trust their family and friends much more than a government spokesperson or a politician they have never met. Your family and friends love you and they want the best for you. If you share the reasons why you support Democracy then over time they will probably come to accept your reasons as well.

One unique advantage for Progressives in eSwatini is that it is a very small country where generations have lived side by side for centuries. It is much easier for a movement to spread from person to person in that environment than in a larger country.

You will be surprised at how quickly a movement can grow in that environment. This tactic is also cheaper and easier than having marches and large events, and it's much harder for the government to stop. What should Progressives talk about with their family and friends?

The Progressives should talk about the economy, jobs, and wages. These are the issues the people of eSwatini care most about today and these are the issues that the Tinkhundla system with the royal family at the head cannot improve.

The eSwatini economy and the Tinkhundla government are linked together, they are the same things and cannot be separated. The economy is set up to make one man rich while the government is there to stop any changes the citizens attempt to propose.

Progressives should not solely focus on ideals like human rights, freedom and political parties. These are very important issues but people are concerned about what they face right now in their daily lives.

Jobs and wages and healthcare will motivate people to work towards new freedoms. When talking with friends and family ask them questions about economic topics. The best way to discuss issues is to ask questions and let the other person think about the questions you ask.

Here are some examples of questions you can ask: Why hasn't our system worked for years but the same leaders keep telling us it will work next year? Do you remember Vision 2022? Why do so many economic decisions have to be approved by the King?

Where do the funds in Tiboyo go and can we use them to improve our healthcare system? Why do we spend money on new airports and other large projects? What return on investment have we seen on these projects?

Why do we have to pay for a large army? Is it there to protect us from an invader or is it there to hurt us? You don't need them to answer these questions and you shouldn't expect any answers at the moment.

Hopefully what happens is the other person begins to silently think to themselves about these questions and begins to question their belief in the government and think about the lies they have heard over the years.

I know it's difficult to talk about politics. It's not a happy subject to talk about and it can be awkward. But Aristotle said that 'man is a political animal' and like it or not political decisions will be made for us if we do not voice our concerns and participate in the process.

We will continue to suffer in silence if we don't speak up. And this tactic means the only people we need to speak to are our family and friends. And that will be enough to spark change.