Eswatini Daily News
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Cloud of Silence From Monarch Greets Protests Against Absolute Power

The South African government is said to be concerned by a possible spill-over of violence and unrest from the Kingdom of eSwatini, after pro-democracy protesters in the monarchy were met with a brutal police crackdown in the beginning of last week.

Allafrica.com has reported that the government was forced to do damage control to counter allegations that King Mswati III, Africa’s last absolute monarch, had fled the country after protesters torched public facilities and building housing a brewery run by the royal family.

Acting Prime Minister Themba Masuku denied the reports at a virtual press conference on Tuesday that the king had fled as reported, but promised to address the political situation.

“His Majesty King Mswati III is in the country and continues to lead in working with the government to advance the kingdom’s goals,” Masuku told a virtual press conference.

“The government will update the nation on interventions on the current situation as the day progresses.”

What Masuku referred to, it turned out, was the deployment of security forces, an imposition of a dusk-to-dawn curfew, internet shut down and a violent crushing of unarmed protesters. The king is yet to address the kingdom and his whereabouts remain unknown but the PM cited Covid-19, not political unrest, in issuing the restrictions.

On Wednesday, the Swaziland Solidarity Network (SSN) and the Swaziland Youth Congress (Swayoco), a pro-democracy lobby, confirmed several people had been killed by the country’s security forces during protests.

On Thursday, Pretoria said it was concerned with the manner in which security forces had reacted to unarmed protesters, as political movements in South Africa joined the calls for more civil liberties in eSwatini.

“We are particularly concerned by reports of loss of life and destruction of property. The right to peaceful protest is universally recognised,” said a statement from the Department of International Relations and Co-operation (Dirco) spokesman Clayson Monyela. Article sourced from: https://allafrica.com/

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