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MBABANE – PUDEMO Spokesperson Maxwell Dlamini has dismissed allegations of victimisation on supporters of Mandla Hlatshwayo.

Hlatshwayo fiercely challenged incumbent President Mlungisi Makhanya for his position in the recently held 10th General Congress. He contended for the position of president and was favoured to take over as he presented a new programme of reform for the political party. Makhanya emerged victorious, while the organisation was left divided into two groups. Sources close to the organisation alleged that members who supported Hlatshwayo during the elective conference were now victimised by the current leadership.

“It is also an unspoken truth that many of those that supported Mandla Hlatshwayo were being persecuted, purged and ostracised. Those that voiced concerns about the issues that went against the established constitutional framework were misinterpreted as being opposed to progress and labelled as stumbling blocks. These could be some of the key factors that might have led to the mass resignation as it is now. I also believed in the leadership of Mandla and I felt he was needed to reform PUDEMO, to rebuild its image and reposition it as a party of choice for the masses. I firmly believe that a constructive and inclusive approach, one focused on genuine youth empowerment and advancing collective objectives, is crucial for SWAYOCO to effectively contribute to the nation’s development,” alleged the source.

elective conference

Though the source could not present substantive evidence on the allegations, the Spokesperson of the organisation confirmed that PUDEMO was trying all they could to deal with the aftermath of the elective conference. He said it was possible that some of their members were still disappointed by the outcome, hence the possibility of the feeling that they were being targeted. He said the organisation was currently working on ways of unifying all the members and ensuring a healthy healing process after a gruel election process. “There is no target for those who supported and preferred Mandla Hlatshwayo for president. All our comrades have accepted the outcome of the PUDEMO congress and now support the new leadership as led by President Mlungisi Makhanya. PUDEMO National Executive Committee (NEC) noted the gruelling contest for leadership that we experienced for the first time in the history of the movement, and some comrades may still feel disappointed in the outcome, which is humanely acceptable and expected. Hence, PUDEMO NEC resolved in the process of healing and unifying the movement by reaching out to those who contested and supported candidates and individuals who didn’t win,” said Dlamini. He added that the renewal programme, which was initiated by the PUDEMO leadership, was ongoing. He said its four-year programme of action was adopted and conceptualised around organisational renewal.

more organised

“We are happy that Mandla Hlatshwayo is contributing to this renewal programme and agenda, and we urge all other comrades to do so in building a strong and more organised organisation,” he added. Hlatshwayo requested not to comment on the matter but mentioned that the PUDEMO reform was a programme that should be embraced by all members of the organisation. South Africa’s leading political party, the African National Congress (ANC), has also faced a similar situation where some members preferred former president Jacob Zuma, while others favoured the Cyril Ramaphosa leadership. In an attempt to deal with intra-party conflicts, the ANC adopted new policies on lobbying, the use of resources in internal elections, and improper conduct in political meetings during the 2012 conference.