FEBRUARY 26, 2023
Recent occurrences in recent times within government have shown that the chronology of events seems to be a hard pill to swallow for the country’s leadership. For clarity, maybe it would be enlightening to recall the unfortunate events of June 2021.
At some stage, the then acting Prime Minister, Themba Masuku was on record speaking relentlessly that there were foreign mercenaries going about killing Swazis, and that was at the height of what later became the June massacre. Just before that assertion, Masuku was quoted to have said there were foreign nationals who were leading the spate of protests and killings that saw some local analysts questioning the reasoning behind such a statement. This later saw veteran political analyst, Dr Qambukusa Petros Magagula, better known as Dr PQ telling Siyalu Media that the utterances by Masuku showed that the acting PM viewed Swazis as people not capable of reasoning, but were relying on foreign nationals for survival.
When Swazis were still grappling with that, the current ICT Minister Inkhosatana Princess Sikhanyiso was on the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), saying there were mercenaries going about shooting people not known to them. Unfolding events in recent weeks are painting a gloomy picture since the supposed security consultants that the Swazi government had confirmed to have sought their expertise were linked to alleged abductions and the execution of political activists, calling for political reforms in the Kingdom of eSwatini, formerly Swaziland. It was not immediately known why and what the government officials were trying to achieve with such utterances. The blame-game or the postponement of issues would not help the country in anyway.
For two years running, Swazis have been kept waiting with bated breath with the hope that there would be a mechanism that is meant at solving the political stalement or commitment to the much-talked about narrative that the country was known for solving its differences through peaceful means. Before the close of 2021, there was a promise that just after the annual Incwala ceremony, the Swazi nation would get a chance to speak and resolve their differences amicably, but that remained a pipe dream to this day.
What followed after that were sentiments to the effect that the national dialogue could not be convened when arson attacks and the spate of killings were still ongoing? The regional bloc, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Troika Organ had made several attempts to find a lasting solution. When the gloomy sky was looking clearer, a leading Human Rights lawyer, Thulani Rudolf Maseko was killed just at the time the when the incoming TROIKA Chair, President Hage Geingop was reported to have agreed to meet pressure and civil society groups under the banner of the Multi Stakeholder Forum (MSF). Maseko was assassinated three days before the groups were expected to be allocated a date for the meeting with the Namibian president. Maseko’s killers remain on the run, and there has been a protracted trading of insults and counter-accusations regarding those responsible for his death between the two camps.
Meeting fire with fire or an eye for an eye defeats the spirit of preaching the gospel of reconciliation. Even though I do not want to be judgmental, I am tempted to say this country is now suffering from the pain of self-inflicted wounds. The death of dozens of Swazis, together with the assassination of Thulani together with the attitude and posture of those in the front row does not give a message of a people keen in finding a lasting solution, for the benefit of the country’s ailing economy, and future generations. It remains to be seen if the words uttered by former South Africa president Jacob ‘Msholozi’ Zuma will be adhered to, of convening the dialogue soonest, or they will just remain words of wisdom, and gather dust, as always.

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