OCTOBER 23, 2022

No one knew how the King’s 2022 vision had in store for eSwatini people, as it took close to eight ordinary Swazis to get up to speed with it.

The use of maximum force by the security apparatus seems to have become one of the house rules, and when the global pandemic (COVID-19) creeped in no one knew how things would turn out to be in as far as the country’s political landscape is concerned. In the past, Swazi activists were regarded as punching bags for the uniformed forces.

The whole year (2022) has been full of surprises such that the nation is witnessing strange things, not to mean that the year was strange. No one knew that killing fellow countrymen would be an occurrence such that people seem to have lost empathy. This year started with great hopes that the promised national dialogue was going to be convened immediately after BakaNgwane were done with Incwala festivities last year. When we were still hoping for reconciliatory means, social media platforms became a hive of activity, where socialists interpreted differently the king’s utterances he made when he dispersed regiments after they finished weeding royal fields after the Incwala ceremony, such that we are witnessing strange activities not to mean that the year was strange.

This year saw something that was never witnessed in the history of the country since independence, where setting alight of structures became a daily occurrence. Reason for such was not made public, but speculation was rife that the failure of giving Swazis a hint on how the issues or pain suffered during the civil unrest would be addressed to take the country forward. There were some pockets of society who were annoyed by government’s failure to own up and apologise for unleashing the army and the police against innocent citizens. As if that was not enough, the government was accused of attaching value to buildings that got damaged during the civil unrest instead of the lost souls. They felt the lives of dozens of Swazis who died allegedly in the hands of security apparatus were viewed as insignificant.

Since June 29, 2021 that saw dozens of emaSwati die under a cloud of controversy and political temperatures rising, in previous protests, the local forces preferred using truncheons or spraying protestors with water. This year, there have been attempts for workers or civil society state actors to engage in protests, it came as no surprise when Minister of Housing and Urban Development, Prince Simelane gave himself power and directed all municipalities and town boards not to dare allow workers or activists to access the streets even though they were ratepayers.

At the beginning of the year, a year with less than three months remaining, there seems to be some sectors of society who feel the year was the worst ever while others were hoping for the best. The social issues have also left a trail of havoc and destruction on issues affecting the youth such that they had to complete the year’s curriculum in less than 40 days. It came as no surprise when some said nothing seemed to have worked for this year academically.

In the same year, that saw the country digging graves such that bakaNgwane felt there was a need to strengthen the traditional structures, such that in some chiefdoms they have been without chiefs for close to 90 years. The current year will go into annals of history where ordinary Swazis decided to grant themselves a public holiday on June 29 to commemorate the June 2021 massacre. What a year it was!

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