BY LUNGA MASUKU
NOVEMBER 17, 2022
Mbabane -After a series of radio interviews and press releases issued by the government of the Kingdom of eSwatini, formerly Swaziland, in the midst of the chaotic protests experienced on Tuesday and Wednesday the past week, members of the public did not want to take a risk with their lives.
The assurances were an attempt by government that members of the public should snub calls by proponents of multi-party democracy, who had set aside November 15 as a day of showing support to the two members of Parliament, who are currently languishing in jail for questionable terrorism charges and other ever-changing charges. On this day, the MPs’ trial was set for resumption in court, hence the protesters wanted to show their solidarity on the same day. The decision by the acting prime minister had shown that some government officials have grown to understand that threats by the public transport sector should not be taken lightly.
The public transport sector was not moved by the dubious praises made by Deputy Prime Themba Masuku, when he claimed they had been very cooperative thus government was happy with that, however that was not to be.
Referring to the transport operators, the DPM said, “We really appreciate your effort in ensuring that the public is served properly. Without your contribution, we would not have any meaningful economy to speak of. Our request to you is to ensure that the public is served you and you continue to move the nation and the economy around. As government, we commit to supporting you with every available resource,” reads Masuku’s statement, who was speaking in his capacity as the acting premier.
Masuku said His Majesty’s government was once again sending a strong warning to perpetrators and propagators of violence and acts of terrorism in the country, saying they should desist from sending the country into a state of anarchy and sowing fear among the populace. Adding, Masuku stated that it was not in the best interest of emaSwati to witness such anarchy in the country. To the contrary, this brings discord and makes lives unnecessarily difficult for all citizens, including businesses, ultimately disrupting the economy.
In anticipation of the worst, government postponed the writing of external examination papers, through the ministry of education, arguing that there would be cases of pupils who might fail to reach their schools because their mode of transport might not be there. This assertion was made by Bhekithemba Gama, who is the principal secretary in the ministry of education and training in an interview with the state broadcaster SBIS on Tuesday morning. Meanwhile, the underfire Government Press Secretary, Alpheous Nxumalo kept on stressing that public servants should report to work, assuring that public transport would be there to ferry them to work. Nxumalo’s outbursts come whilst he came underfire from Members of Parliament for uttering baseless statements and also accusing the MPs of trying to usurp powers from Mswati, the absolute monarch of eSwatini, by initiating the dialogue process in the country.
At the close of the day, the state broadcaster aired a series of news items in contrast with the assurances that all would go according to the wishes of the government. On Tuesday evening, Secretary General of the Swaziland Transport and Allied Workers Union (SWATCAWU) Stix Nkambule, in a recorded audio, stated that since they had lost a number of the comrades, they were duty-bound to go and find them and nurse those with bruises before they could consider returning to work.
Later on Wednesday, news began to surface that a lot of structures were destroyed during the two-day protests, albeit without any lives lost, these included two trucks contracted to a forest plantation belonging to the Shiselweni Forestry, trading as Peak Timbers, up north in Pigg’s Peak, among other destructions.