Swaziland: Mswati Tests His Popularity After Deadly eSwatini Protests

King Mswati III of eSwatini (file photo).
analysis

Embattled Eswatini King Mswati faces a test of his popularity after calling his people to a meeting at the palace on Friday to address the lethal and destructive protests which have just rocked the country.

Opposition forces are calling for a boycott of this so-called "Sibaya" with the king and are planning protests against it at the same time.

Some have also raised concerns about the king calling such a large gathering when the country is supposed to be in the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic

To further complicate the day, a delegation of regional ministers will be in Eswatini at the same time, to consult with various forces about the protests earlier this month.

However, it is not yet clear if the ministers, representing the security organ troika of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), will meet the political opposition and civil society.

Foreign ministers Naledi Pandor of South Africa, Lemogang Kwape of Botswana and Frederick Shava of Zimbabwe visited Eswatini for one day on 4 July and met only a government delegation. When the government's opponents remonstrated with the ministers about this, they agreed to return to Eswatini to meet them.

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