Mbabane: There was a huge panic in Matsapha when people were told to leave the industrial site on Monday morning.
Matsapha remains the biggest industrial site in the Kingdom of Eswatini where most of the country’s textile and other industries are operating.
Most people were told to buy food and other necessities and vacate the place.
On Monday morning as early as 5am the place was engulfed with police and soldiers. The tension was high.
One worker who is employed in Matsapha, Mphumelelo said the place was evacuated as early as 9am because they were Soldiers, Police, warders, and OSSU who camped on the whole area.
He said the security cluster was there in anticipation of another rioting prior planned by protesters.
“It is still not safe to go to work and words are that the war might start as soon as possible. Even on Sunday night there were many gunshots in the area” said the worker.
The acting Prime Minister Themba Nhlanganiso Masuku told the SADC Troika delegations at cabinet offices on Sunday that the security threats remain high in the country. Masuku informed the team that currently calm has been restored, although security threats remain high.
He however said the rioting and looting that was observed last week has subsided and some businesses were slowly returning to a state of normalcy.
Masuku said this on Sunday, but on Monday Matsapha and other areas were no-go areas as more contingents of security were on high alert.
Other Witnesses, however, continued to report unrest with violent clashes between protesters and police took place and incidents of looting reported. The latest one being the government garage in Mbabane which was burnt to ashes.
PUDEMO spokesperson Brian Sangweni urge the people of Swaziland to refrain from burning the country and looting.
He said as an organization they don’t want to inherit the ashes in Eswatini because it will be hard to rebuild the country from ashes.
“We want to inherit a better country not ashes,” he said
With unfettered political power over his 1.3 million people and ruling by decree, the king is Africa’s only absolute monarch and one of the few remaining in the world.
Crowned in 1986 when he was just 18, the king has 15 wives and has come under fire for his lavish spending while most inhabitants live below the poverty line.
Demonstrations are rare in Eswatini, where political parties are not allowed to run in national elections. In 2019, the country was rocked by a series of strikes by civil servants who accused the government of draining public coffers at the expense of the people.
Even though people are allowed to vote for members of parliament, the opposition says the process is not an election – rather a selection of people signed off by the king.
Acting Prime Minister Themba Masuku described the unrest as “alarming and upsetting”.
“We have witnessed violence in several parts of the country perpetuated by an unruly crowd where people have been attacked, property destroyed,” he said in a statement.
“Security forces are on the ground to maintain law and order,” he added.
“We are a nation that believes in dialogue. The government has opened an email address where Emaswati can continue to direct their concerns and petitions.”