Eswatini Daily News
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Killings now accepted as the new normal – Bishop Jose

By Bongiwe Zwane-Maseko

The Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Manzini José Luis Ponce de León has said a society that accepts violence is condemned to experience even higher levels of it which can only generate more death and suffering.

This follows the death of human rights lawyer Thulani Rudolph Maseko over the weekend. The Bishop first made this comment after the killing of two police officers in Manzini in October 2022.

More killings have taken place since then. He said sadly the killings seem to have been accepted as the “new normal” in the Kingdom of Eswatini.

“On Sunday 22 January 2023 we woke up to the news of the senseless killing of Thulani Maseko. The number of national and international statements on his killing and the media coverage talks about the kind of person he was and his role in the present moment of our country. He was concerned about the levels of violence being experienced and the impact it has on the lives of many. He believed that only an all-inclusive national dialogue could be a strong foundation for the future of our country,” said the Bishop.

He said his killing points to those who choose violence, death, fear, and exclusion as foundations of our common future.

“To them applies the words of our Lord: “If you, even you, had only recognized on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. (Lk 19:41-42). Responding to his killing with violence will be going against what he stood for. It will also show that “what makes for peace” is hidden from our eyes. As Pope Francis says: “Peace, which is our obligation, is first of all a gift of God.”

Therefore, in this critical moment of our country, I call on every person in the diocese of Manzini to daily pray for God’s gift of peace but also to make a concrete personal commitment to be a “peacemaker” (Matthew 5:9), to make peace possible without making excuses that the time is not right or that it is not possible to resist the temptation of violence. Let this be done through our words and actions as both, words and actions, have the power to build and destroy. We should never underestimate them,” said the Bishop.

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