Swaziland: eSwatini Crisis - Time to Rethink Governance and Allow Multiparty Democracy

analysis

In response to the police and army violence against protesters in Eswatini, the Southern African Human Rights Defenders Network has written to SADC asking for inclusive negotiations to introduce democracy and human rights and making nine key 'asks' as the basis for a sustainable and just resolution to the crisis.

Deadly protests erupted in Eswatini after a decree by King Mswati III on 24 June 2021 banning citizens from sending petitions to parliamentarians to demand democratic reforms. The ban fuelled protests in the country's two largest cities of Manzini and Mbabane, with demonstrators calling for King Mswati III to step down and allow for a transition to democracy. Buildings connected to King Mswati III were reportedly torched by protesters.

Some have called for the king to open multi-stakeholder talks to reflect on democratic reforms. The king is understood to have dug in to say such an approach amounts to negotiating with terrorists and has invoked Covid-19 lockdown measures as a pretext to clamp down on the revolt and impose a curfew strictly and brutally enforced by the military.

In apparent unprecedented panic, the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) Troika has deployed a mission whose objective remains unclear and unfocused. The...

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