- What motive would anybody have to hijack and burn a vehicle that delivers newspapers.
Mbabane-The incidents of arson attacks on private property seem to be gaining momentum again after they had calmed down towards the end of 2021.
Many were startled in February 2022 when a motor vehicle belonging to the Times of Eswatini media house was torched by unknown assailants at Nyakeni close to Luve. The assailants are said to have ambushed the driver at gun point, ordered him out of the vehicle and then proceeded to torch the vehicle that was engaged in duties of the company’s circulation department.
The question that then comes to mind is what motive would anybody have to hijack and burn a vehicle that delivers newspapers.
Times of Eswatini Managing Editor, Martin Dlamini confirmed that a motor vehicle valued at E 200 000 was set alight at Luve. Dlamini said “as a newspaper we strongly condemn in the strongest terms possible. Such forms of violence have no place in society and we can only appeal to emaSwati to refrain from such practice because there has never been a winner through violence.”
The Secretary General of the Peoples United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO), Wandile Dludlu believes that we should view this in the context of a country that is oppressive and that doesn’t appreciate the diversity of its people as a strength but rather as a threat. This hostile political environment then plays itself out as a low intensity war.
Dludlu says “many have died in this permanent conflict where families have lost their loved ones. As PUDEMO we have always called for leadership, however the royal house in Eswatini is constant in maintaining, defending and promoting their self- serving political system. This has given them unlimited access to the means of production.”
“It is regrettable that the Times of Eswatini was torched because as an organisation we denounce violence.”
Just two days later, reports then emerged that sugarcane fields in Mhlume under the Royal Eswatini Sugar Corporation were also burnt. Their torching happened during the off season when the mill is on shutdown. This means that the sugarcane that was burn’t will never be processed to sugar. Clearly this was another act of sabotage. The question again arises as to who might have carried out such an act and towards what end.
In the recent reporting cycle, two men walked up to a soldier at a watering hole at Lonhlupheko near Siteki and without any announcement shot him dead. Four of his friends who were with him during the drinking session also sustained bullet wounds but survived the onslaught.
The Prime Minister (PM) Cleopas Dlamini in his remarks upon arrival from the 6th AU-EU Summit in Brussels, Belgium said “it is imperative to state that the violent acts are weird and superstitiously motivated as some people are killed for being linked with witchcraft allegations. Community leaders and members have to address this surge in mob justice by working with the police to bring those behind them to face the law.”
The PM warned and condemned those behind the arson attacks, and wondered what political statement those behind the attacks were sending by destroying property. These acts cannot be connected with any ideological direction.
Soon after the Prime Minister had denounced the ongoing violence in the country there were reports that members of the Royal Eswatini Police Services (REPS) who were on leave should return to their work stations. The reason behind the announcement was that the police were to engage in a series of raids as part of a routine exercise to root out criminals across the country.
This has confirmed the notion that The REPS are on high alert at all times and security has been tightened at all national key point areas. Key bridges such as the fly over in Matsapha are under constant military surveillance. The same is true of the King Mswati III International Airport at Sikhuphe.
But the violence just doesn’t seem to come to an end, just as we all thought it was toning down the Mbabane police camp was attacked in the dead of night. Four cars belonging to police officers were torched. The total damage was calculated to be the region of E 100 000.
Then there were reports that heavy plant machinery at the Inyatsi construction site at Sicunusa was bombed barely a day after the police camp incidence in Mbabane. The damage there is said to have cost approximately E 2 million. A group that calls themselves the Swaziland International Solidarity forces have claimed responsibility for this particular incident.
It would appear that the security forces are heavily targeted when one observes the frequency of the attacks that have been made against their members. Nothing is safe, whether it be their residential compounds or their actual police posts and stations. This state of affairs does not augur well as a precursor to the start of the national dialogue whose start is imminent.