The following is a media release from Swaziland Democracy Watch
15 March 2010
Among the reasons for awarding Mario Masuku, SWADEWA stated:
"Mario Masuku's brave struggle for a better future for the Swazi people has made him a uniting figure and a source of inspiration for the numerous movements which are fighting for a free and democratic Swaziland, where the entire Swazi people benefits from national ressources".
Danish MP and spokesman on foreign affairs for the currently most well-supported party in Denmark, the Social Democrats, Mogens Lykketoft, presented the award, which consists of a golden megaphone and $1000.
Regarding Swaziland, Lykketoft stated: "It is important to get a government that can introduce general democratic rights such as free elections, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and freedom of the press and a genuine democracy".
Furthermore, Lykketoft wished for a Swazi government with the ability and will to cooperate with neighbouring countries to fight poverty, take action against the problems with AIDS and the shockingly low average life expectancy age.
The prize was accepted by a friend and representative of Mario Masuku, who is from the Danish NGO, Africa Contact. He read out an acceptance speech from Masuku, who expressed that he was honoured to accept the award.
"My people want democracy, peace and stability. And the current regime gives them more poverty and brutalization. This is their award in recognition of their resilience in the face of harassment".
The Danish Secretary General of Amnesty International, Lars Normann Joergensen, congratulates Masuku with the SWADEWA Democracy Prize 2010 and says on behalf of Amnesty International:
"Amnesty International has in many years criticized the widespread persecution of the opposition in Swaziland and has especially been alarmed by the consequences of the Suppression of Terrorism Act".
"Amnesty International will continue to put pressure on the Swazi regime to remove those regulations that undermine the legal rights for political activists, journalists and common Swazi citizens."
Several NGO's, political parties and labour unions were present at the well-attended ceremony.