Coverage of Swaziland indaba slanted
Louise Redvers's article, "Swaziland parties oppose Cosatu interference" (August 24 to 30) supposedly reports on the indaba organised by the Swaziland Diaspora Platform the previous week. It gave a forum to the organisations of the pro-democracy movement in Swaziland to present views and programmes for change, one of the few times representatives of the often divergent anti-autocracy movement have come together.
Rather than shedding any light on the content of the indaba, your reporter merely echoed the coverage of the Times of Swaziland by focusing on a minor aspect of it, a remark by Cosatu president Sdumo Dlamini on the role of Pudemo, the banned People's United Democratic Movement. Cosatu has not been accused of "interfering" in the democracy movement, as Redvers suggests, and the point she latches on to in no way reflects the issues raised at the indaba.
This is in line with past coverage of the movement's activities by this journalist in the Mail & Guardian, in which there has been scant attention to or understanding of its campaigns or activities on the ground.
We realise that the M&G, because of what we consider its narrow ideological slant, is highly unlikely to refer to the initiatives and perspectives of the Communist Party of Swaziland, which were presented at the indaba. But we find it strange that you also avoid mention of other organisations in the democracy movement and the pressing debate on how to achieve a democratic dispensation in the country.
The indaba covered many of these issues, but your writer sensationalised one minor point. It is sad that such bad journalism passes as news about the desperately fraught situation in a country on South Africa's doorstep living under a monarchic dictatorship.
Kenneth Kunene, general secretary of the Communist Party of Swaziland