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Government concerned by increase in murder and suicide rates

By Phephile Motau

Acting Prime Minister Themba Masuku says the government is concerned about the escalating rate of murders and suicides in the country.

He was speaking when addressing the media at Cabinet Offices on Wednesday morning. The Acting Prime Minister reported that 88 people have been killed in different incidents across the country over the past three months, an average of 30 a month and that 46 have committed suicide during the same period, an average of 15 a month.

“Just this week, we learned with shock about the killing of four citizens in an unprecedented case of mob justice at Nkonka in the Shiselweni region. This comes in the wake of the sporadic killings of ordinary and well-known citizens in different incidents in the recent past,” he said.

Masuku said the government took the opportunity to condemn these killings and that no one had a right to take another person’s life, no matter the motivation to do so.

“Every life is precious, and Government values every life. It is on that premise that Government appeals to emaSwati to find amicable ways of resolving their differences, other than killing each other”.

He said when a crime was suspected, it should be reported to the police who are trained to conduct thorough investigations and help in the prosecution of criminals.

“I need not emphasise that Eswatini is a very small country and we are all related, one way or the other. Therefore, it is very important that we all act as our brother’s keepers and protect one another. We can ill-afford this growing trend of criminality. It has no place in our society.”

He said mob killings and taking matters into our own hands were very dangerous, as they not only breed lawlessness but also make the country an unsafe place to live in, chasing away tourists and investors in the process.

“We note how social media is being misused as a platform to promote hate crime and violence by some individuals. Again, social media has become a haven for people to insult each other, including those in authority, as well as a vehicle for sending threats to others. May I remind the Nation that this is a criminal offence in accordance with the Computer Crime and Cybercrime Act 2022,” Masuku said.

He added that the government was also concerned about the rate of suicides that are currently taking place in the country.

“This is an indication of a serious mental health challenge faced by our society. The government wishes to encourage emaSwati to get help if they suspect they may be falling into depression.”

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