Mbabane: Freedom House has called for Eswatini authorities to release parliamentarians and drop charges against them.
Freedom House is a non-profit non-governmental organization that conducts research and advocacy on democracy, political freedom, and human rights.
Freedom House issued the statement in response to the arrest of two members of parliament, Mduduzi ‘Bacede’ Mabuza, and Mthandeni Dube, and the issuing of an arrest warrant against the third parliamentarian Mduduzi ‘Magawugawu’ Simelane.
In a statement released by the organization, it stated that the three parliamentarians charged are at the forefront of demanding a return to constitutional democracy in Eswatini.
Chief of Party for Freedom House’s Advancing Rights in Southern Africa program Tiseke Kasambala said the arrest of the parliamentarians is the latest instance of the Eswatini government’s ongoing crackdown on political dissent and the rights to free expression and association.
Tiseke said the Eswatini government must drop all charges and immediately release them. The continued arrest and harassment of those who oppose the Eswatini authorities’ repressive tactics underscore the need for political reforms in the country.
Mthandeni Dube, member of parliament for Ngwempisi constituency, and Bacede Mabuza, member of parliament for the Hosea constituency, were arrested on July 25 and charged with terrorism and breaching COVID-19 regulations.
The stamen also states that the recent spate of arrests comes in the aftermath of widespread protests at which thousands of people took to the streets demanding political reforms and democratic freedoms. In response, security forces reportedly shot and killed over 60 people, injured scores more, and arrested hundreds of others.”
“The three parliamentarians have been at the forefront of demanding a return to constitutional democracy in Eswatini, an absolute monarchy ruled by King Mswati III, who has led the country for over 30 years. Political parties are not legally recognized and are banned from contesting elections,” reads the statement