FEBRUARY 7, 2023

MBABANE – Greetings dear reader, let me start by apologising for missing in action in the last few weeks of the past year, and also the first month of the New Year, this had to do with technology as we were upgrading our systems in order to have seamless operations going forward, particularly as we all align ourselves with the incoming 4TH Industrial Revoultion. A lot has happened globally such that one has to try and catch up since our dear readers missed our analysis in eSwatini, formerly known as Swaziland.

One major incident that will dominate our copy today is the recent brutal murder of well-known Human Rights Lawyer Thulani Rudolf Maseko who was killed in cold blood on January 21, 2023. This happened in full view of his wife and two minor children. The way he was killed shows that his execution was planned and a highly-skilled assassin was hired to eliminate him. Thulani was one person who knew his story such that whenever he started talking about how things were not adding up with the regime, no one shunned his presentation.

There were some media reports where they alleged that the late Thulani may have been killed as a result of a land dispute between him and his ka-Luhleko community, however this publication is shooting down that narrative, but logic dictates that the ka-Luhleko residents may have crossed paths with Thulani, but they were not capable of doing such since it had the potential of haunting them every time they walked past his homestead. The way he was executed was rather too sophisticated to be done by people from such an area. The area is made of people who come from the same family tree to even consider such an execution.

Activism was running in his veins such that during his university days he, together with Bongani Masuku, who was once president of the student representative council (SRC) at the then University of Swaziland (UNISWA) now eSwatini, where they embarked on a marathon 12 days’ hunger strike as a means of putting pressure on the university management. During an interview with the late vice chancellor of the university, Professor Lydia Makhubu while I was still working for The Times Group of Newspapers, Prof Makhubu said there was something that struck her with those students. She said in several attempts to convince them to drop the hunger strike, her students were communicating with respect and that left her shell-shocked on how she needed to convince them before they resumed eating. “The word make or mother was always on their lips, but they refused to drop the hunger strike. She said they always referred to her as make- mom.

Before the close of 2022 there was a time when there were two ideas that dominated social media handles, where there was a debate on whether to participate in the upcoming Tinkhundla elections. Those for the elections adopted the Siyaya or we are going to the national elections mantra. Those against the elections coined a phrase known as ‘We are not going, Asiyi/Ungayi or do not go to the elections.

Those for the elections are of the view that it would be more advantageous to have more vocal MPs with a mandate of creating anarchy in the august House. There are those who feel government will use every tool at its disposal to ensure that they do not make it past the primary elections or even do not get nominated. The pro-election pundits have since received the backing of government’s strategist Themba Masuku, the DPM who has since assumed the position of government’s propagandist. That led to some spectators alleging that if things were to go his way, he was going to be on the news every hour, or daily, where he was going to be saying anything that will counter any trending issue. Masuku said those planning to snub the elections were depriving themselves of the opportunity of playing their role in national development and the establishment of the next government, saying those to participate will be able to form the government on their behalf.

On Thursday in the past week, after almost two years he found it befitting to be on radio where he justified the conduct of the country’s security personnel after there were allegations that security officers used maximum force. His response was that government had been informed that there were some elements who had planned to burn down major business establishments in Matsapha. He went on to tell the state broadcaster that there was a cloud of people and it was for this decision that soldiers were taken out of their barracks to add numbers since the group was very big and it was at night. It was not immediately known as to why government decided to go all out on the issue. Parliament tried in vain to get a convincing report from Masuku on why government was prioritising structures when there was any discussion about the civil unrest instead of the lives that were lost.

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