- resolve to commemorate June 29 Is compounded by the fact that government does not want to own up to killing civilians
- It is not plausible that a person can be gunned down for stealing a mere loaf of bread or a 10kg bag of rice
- government needs to understand the nature of the commemoration before it can issue a response
Mbabane-Members of the Multi Stakeholder Forum that includes the Trade Union Congress of Swaziland (TUCOSWA) are expected to commemorate the June 29, 2021 unrest. In honour of those who were massacred following violent confrontation with the country’s security forces.
This is the assertion of the Secretary General of the Trade Union Congress of Swaziland (TUCOSWA), Mduduzi Gina.
Gina made these remarks in confirmation of a resolution made by the Federation of Trade Unions that June 29 shall be commemorated. The commemoration follows the largest pro-democracy protests in years that saw security forces engage mostly young demonstrators defying an overnight curfew in running street battles. This culminated in the deaths of more than 50 people at the hands of the security forces.
Gina says their resolve to commemorate June 29 Is compounded by the fact that government does not want to own up to the killings. “At some point the government even claimed that those who died were killed by mercenaries and even members of the South African Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party. However not a single member of either of these groups was arrested.”
‘’Government has not instituted an investigation into the matter or shown remorse. As citizens we want to know why and how the people were killed” says Gina. “It is not plausible that a person can be gunned down for stealing a mere loaf of bread or a 10kg bag of rice.”
The logistics of the commemoration are still to announced and they are being concluded with considering that it is a multi-stakeholder programme.
Quizzed on his concerns that any mass action that occurs could result in further confrontation with the security forces, Gina said “that bridge will be crossed when it occurs. It would be a political blunder for government forces to violently confront people who are remembering and mourning their dead.”
Gina then turned his attention to the forthcoming National Dialogue and expressed concern at the slow pace of the process. “Maybe government is still taking instructions from the international community on what the genuine national dialogue should be like. I cannot be Sibaya as we know it because that is not a dialogue but a monologue. It could be that they are being advised on what a dialogue should be.”
“If the delay is because they want to consolidate a posture that the atmosphere will die down, then this is not likely to happen. Instead, the atmosphere is becoming like a pressure cooker whereby at some point the populous will explode uncontrollably.” Gina says “as the situation is prolonged, the character of the demands continues to change and this can be determined from the lyrics of the protest songs.”
Gina is nonetheless appealing for tolerance between the MSF and those out side of the MSF “we believe that we as emaSwati can all co-exist. It can only be in an environment that is free from victimisation that the national dialogue can thrive.