Mbabane: As call for democracy intensifies, the government of the Kingdom of Eswatini has called for the banning of the delivery of petitions that is currently on going around the country at the Tinkhundla centers.
In a press briefing on Thursday at the cabinet offices, Acting Prime Minister Themba Masuku announced that Government has suspended the delivery of petitions to Tinkhundla centers with immediate effect saying that the petition delivery exercise has created a breeding ground for anarchy and has been intentionally hijacked to sow seeds of division.
Masuku said the country is built on a collective agreement called the Constitution and other traditional structures that have served us well for centuries. The Constitution is a homegrown document that was adopted by emaSwati after years of extensive consultations.
He said Eswatini is a country that believes in dialogue when addressing the challenges that confront the people in order to peacefully surge forward in unity and cohesion. It is the bedrock upon which our governance and progression as an economy have rested for hundreds of years.
“It is therefore incumbent upon all of us to respect the values and ethos of our great Nation which are not only mounted in the respect for each other but respect for the rule of law and orderly consultation where we have differing views.”
Masuku further stated that Government remains receptive to all concerns raised by the public through the appropriate forums and in full compliance with the law. “Our Constitution guarantees freedom of expression and fully embraces orderly consultation and engagement.”
Masuku noted that the ongoing protests degenerated into disorder and violent scenes in several instances, putting the lives of citizens, public and private property in danger. He said the government has noted with concern where some protestors deliberately provoking the police who have continued to restrain themselves under serious provocation and attacks.
“This kind of unruly behavior is unacceptable and cannot be allowed to continue without consequence. Our Tinkhundla system, as encapsulated in the Constitution, ably provides the structures and procedures to be followed when raising concerns at the community or constituency level. Delivering petitions is not one of them.”
“All political systems have checks and balances set intentionally to maintain law and order, and none of them allow uncontrolled and violent engagements.”
Masuku said it was disheartening to observe the flagrant disregard of the rule of law, the result of which has been the breach of the Constitution, Public Order Act 2017, and the COVID-19 Regulations as variated from time to time.