Cleopas Dlamini informed the SADC organ that those engaged in incidences of political unrest in Eswatini were engaged in terrorism
Namibia-The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has once again reiterated its calls for stakeholders within Eswatini to engage in dialogue as a means of reaching peace and ending unrest. These latest calls were made by the SADC chair of its organ for politics, defence and security co-operation, Namibian President Hage Geingob. The Namibian President was speaking at the SADC extraordinary troika summit in Windhoek, Namibia.
Geingob is the third Southern African leader to request Eswatini to engage in talks in an attempt to end the sporadic violence that has tended to flare up in the Kingdom over the last two years. Following the June unrests of 2021 in the country, the then SADC chair of the politics, defence and security organ at the time, Botswana’s President Eric Masisi, sent a fact-finding mission to the country on July 3 and 4 2021.
This was followed by a working visit by South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa in November 2021 in which he engaged with Eswatini monarch, King Mswati III. Subsequent to that meeting there were agreements made that preparations for a national dialogue would begin early in 2022 after King Mswati had come out of seclusion at the annual Incwala ceremony. However, these preparations have not seen the light of day.
Geingob said “dialogue is important as it will give the peace process an opportunity to become successful,” He also alluded to the assassination of prominent human rights lawyer, Thulani Maseko who was also the chairman of the Multi Stakeholder Forum that is in the fore front in finding solutions to the political challenges in Eswatini. He called for a “swift, transparent and comprehensive investigation so the culprits can be brought to book.”
Representatives from the Multi Stakeholder Forum were also present at the summit barely a week after the funeral of their slain chairperson. They included the President of the Peoples United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO), Mlungisi Makhanya and its Secretary Wandile Dudlu among others. They were there to lobby SADC leaders to intensify the calls for dialogue in Eswatini.
The official delegation from Eswatini headed by the Prime Minister, Cleopas Dlamini maintained its position. Dlamini informed the SADC organ on politics, defence and security that those engaged in incidences of political unrest in Eswatini were engaged in terrorism. “Many people have been executed, coerced and intimidated. Under these circumstances it is not possible to engage in a meaningful national dialogue.” The Prime Minister confirmed that at the moment there is a technical team that has been established by SADC that will recommend how the country can proceed with an inclusive national dialogue. He said “there needs to be an all-inclusive process of consultation with all sectors of society in line with the provision of the Constitution, and not a pre-determined process imposed on stakeholders by government.
However, the Multi Stakeholder Forum is of the view that Eswatini should stop misleading its peers in SADC, that the problem in Eswatini was only a security issue. Mlungisi Makhanya says “the issue affecting the nation is more than just a security concern; it is fundamentally a political question. The security issue arises from the political problem, which is the lack of and absence of democratic governance in the country. The security issue can and will never be resolved without addressing the political question. The security instability is but a symptom of a sickness of our politics. SADC cannot resolve the Swaziland crisis by addressing symptoms and not the crux of the crisis.”
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