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Monday, 9 September, 2002, 10:38 GMT 11:38 UK
Swazi opposition leader threatens king
Mario Masuku behind prison guard
Masuku wants a constitutional monarchy
Swaziland opposition leader has told a public meeting that the royal government must be "wiped out".

Mario Masuku was making his first public speech since being acquitted on treason charges two weeks ago.


I warn the king to open his ears, as a great tide is coming

Mario Masuku
The 51-year-old politician, who suffers from diabetes, had spent a year in a high security prison.

Swaziland is Africa's last absolute monarchy. Political parties and political demonstrations have been outlawed by King Mswati III.

Mr Masuku told the BBC Network Africa programme that he was expecting anything - including to be arrested again.

'Intimidation'

"Tinkhundla (Swaziland's royal government) can never be reformed. Our duty is to wipe it out completely," Mr Masuku, head of the People's United Democratic Movement (Pudemo) told a few hundred supporters in Manzini, 35 km east of the capital Mbabane.

"I warn the king to open his ears, as a great tide is coming. It will not spare him or anyone else, his wives and his brothers and sisters. The tide is so high; it is of the masses," he said.

King Mswati III
King Mswati rules by decree

The gathering of several opposition leaders was held in a Roman Catholic church.

Mr Masuku denied that the turnout meant that his party did not enjoy mass support, saying that people were worried about government "intimidation".

In his recently ended court case, he was tried on charges of calling for the overthrow of King Mswati.

During his trial, Mr Masuku said that he was calling for the reform not the abolition of the monarchy.

The judge agreed and said the police had taken his words out of context.

The defence also claimed that the translation of Mr Masuku's speech from SiSwati into English had been faulty.

But speaking to BBC Network Africa, Mr Masuku stressed that the regime should be "wiped out".

He said it was similar to ending apartheid in South Africa.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Mario Masuku on BBC Network Africa
"I expect anything, including charges and arrest"
See also:

23 Aug 02 | Africa
06 Feb 02 | Africa
04 Feb 02 | Africa
04 Feb 02 | Africa
04 Dec 01 | Africa
12 Dec 01 | Africa
19 Oct 01 | Africa
26 Jul 01 | Country profiles
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