One on one with struggle Veteran Bongani Masuku (Part II of II)

TB: I wonder, if you look at the objective factors the stateand how it responded to this political unrest and the confusion that ensued, could you see the vulnerable points of the regime? By this I mean where can the progressive sharpen more the contradictions?

BM: The state is very vulnerable and never has it been so vulnerable and isolated not only from international community but also from its own people. The problem is that we need to clarify the message to the people so that the state is exposed more. Sometimes our message plays to the system’s false sense of strength. The contradictions of the system will be sharpened by the extent to which our message penetrates to the masses. The people must be clear that there is a relationship between what we are fighting for and their condition.They must be clear that the systems has caused them misery and that we are the ones who are looking for a future in which they are free from poverty and oppression. For example, we can explain how does multiparty democracy relate to their condition and their misery? How is the King the cause of their problems and suffering? How are we a solution or part of the solution to building a future that will take them out of Egypt to Canaan? The message must therefore not be muddied. The message sometimes conflates and is unable to separate the chaff from the real corn. So the biggest task in my view is to isolate, expose, shame and embarrass the system more. We must show that the reason why the people are poor is because the king has Rolls Royces’, the king has the most expensive palaces in a country that is so small. The king has a private jet equal to those that are used by the richest people in the world. We must show that the poorest country in the world has produced a person who Forbes magazine recognizes as one of the richest person in Africa. Those are the contradictions we must expose. The fact that people are unable to go to school, children sleep without food, are forced to go to South Africa to look for jobs, forced to live a life of misery, forced to prostitute themselves in South Africa and forced to look for jobs in foreign countries when their country per capita is one of the richest and well-endowed countries in Africa is shameful. Because in truth we have a small population but we are feeding a king who is never satisfied. He has a big family. He has a parasitic family and an ungrateful family not to mention the spoiled rotten children. They go around the world mobilizing in the name of investment but for their own projects. The budget of Swaziland and Central treasurer is a feeding ranch through the royal emoluments that feeds the royal family. There is also the Swazi National Treasurer. This country is hiding under the name of Africanism and confusing many people who believe that emajobo nebulongo is the symbol of africanism yet is a cover for the parasitism of a rotten royal family.

TB: The big question everyone is asking themselves is what is to be done? You know earlier while we were talking you said in times of strategic confusion we must clarify ourselves in order to clarify society. What then is the solution? That's what most people are asking themselves. What is to be done now?

BM: I think we have gone through a very difficult patch. There's a path of strategic confusion because things have moved faster than we thought. It's understandable because there's no revolution without strategic confusion but strategic confusion brings strategic possibilities and opportunities. That's what most people can’t see, and that's what only leaders can see. So leadership means being able to transcend and go beyond the strategic confusion to see the opportunities and possibilities for the forward movement. There are a few things in my view that are needed. The first one is that all political parties and civil society organization must do an honest self-introspection, not in a denial form or blame game and not because they want to weaken themselves, or to please anybody or lie to anybody but because they want to honestly reflect on what has happened. What role have they played? What could they have done better? What could they do now? Importantly, they must reflect in order to go back to the basics and mobilize and build the confidence of the masses about a new democratic future. That's number one. And here I mean all organizations without exception. Then secondly we need to develop leaders with a futuristic vision who can inspire confidence and build hope of the Swaziland we are aspiring for and be able to reclaim lost ground. Leaders that will show that Mswati is not the leader we were looking for. That Mswati is the naked empire. That can show that the reason we have Mswati is not by default instead it is because of our own weaknesses. These leaders should be able to clarify to the masses that there are no shortcuts in revolution and that we will fall and rise. But in every fall we rise remembering that a fall is merely a learning curve. Thirdly we should be able to build a global mass movement. I was particularly inspired by the number of Swazi all over the world from Canada, UK, Europe, Norway, to all over Africa. Swazis were moving, they were literally joining pickets and offering themselves to do something. But the infrastructure was unable to cope and harness all this energy. We must be able to turn this anger into a movement, a force that will be able to drive and hit the final blow. Lastly, we all need to know that marching in the streets, jumping, being angry, insulting Mswati, bombing and burning and all the likes are not the be it and all of a revolution. Those are very important but more than that, we need solutions to the problems that the people of Swaziland are facing. Are the political parties and civil society able to place their minds and energies to determine how much resources will be needed to rebuild the country when there is a democratic dispensation? How will we create jobs? How will this country be turned around? How will the people of Swaziland be better than they are today. How will the education and health system be turned around to serve and improve the quality of life for Swazi people? How will the youth believe all their suffering was worth it? Remember we have seen all over Africa youth getting disappointed when multi party turns to empty vessels that have no content and substance. How will we be able to inspire their confidence? So those four things are very critical if we are to be able to drive and turn around the situation. But it can be done because the drive amongst the people is unbelievable and the international community has never been so resolutely behind Swaziland.

TB: Lastly, were you not surprised that the workers' voice was just completely silent in all of this? In fact civil society as a whole because even lawyers and the church used to join the fray and be very vocal. Maybe it's a harsh analysis, but as organized bodies there wasn't anything coming from them.

BM: I think we must appreciate that this momentum came from a different constituency. It came from the constituencies of the MPs and ultimately translated into all the constituencies in the country. So it was a different momentum. It caught all the organizing group by surprise. They can't claim to have had a plan for this. The mass movement was not at the forefront as usual but this is the starting point. All that is left is that the mass movement must complement each other because we have reached a turning point. This is a game changer. And the game changer requires a force to lead it. But as I said we need the introspection that will be able to clarify, strategize and plan a way forward without delay. We must hit while the rod is hot.