With no progress towards a national dialogue, and with tensions rising in the Kingdom, Church leaders presented a petition to the Eswatini Parliament. See the full text below:
PETITION PRESENTED TO ESWATINI PARLIAMENT
We, the Swaziland Concerned Church Leaders, the Justice, Peace and Reconciliation Department and the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace, held our meeting on the 02nd October 2022 at the Catholic Center in Manzini. From this gathering we extend to you our respectful greetings and share with you our opinions about the following issues:
Over the past year in our country, killings have become part of our ordinary lives. It is becoming more and more apparent that as a country, we have chosen the path of death than that of life. It is clear that we no longer see in each other the God in whose image we have been created (Genesis 1: 27) and with Cain we sarcastically ask: “Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Genesis 4:9)
We have taken God’s place as creator deciding on the lives of others. We have rejected him as Father as we no longer see each other as brothers and sisters, (Matthew 23:8) but have chosen the “blame game” labelling others as adversaries, terrorists, enemies…
We seem to be living in the deception that the country has “gone back to normal” ignoring the anger of many people – particularly the youth as they see no answer to their frustration and no spaces to voice them. They feel that some are full citizens but others second class ones. Some seem to have access to every opportunity in the country and the rest to the leftovers. In their restlessness, they can be easily deceived by those who offer them violence as the only possible solution. Many problems remain unresolved.
Eswatini’s citizens were elated at the announcement of a national dialogue following the unprecedented killings and burning of structures witnessed last June. The Church in Eswatini also wishes to see this noble process being meaningfully and honestly speedily implemented in order for all emaSwati to develop their potential and contribute to the building of a just, peaceful and progressive Eswatini. In his first letter to the Corinthians, St. Paul writes: “I urge you brothers and sisters, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to agree together, to end your divisions, and to be united by the same mind and purpose.” (1:10)
As Church representatives, we condemn all that which constitutes a violation of human integrity and everything that offends human dignity. We denounce all crimes committed in the name of the security of the State as if the State were absolute and not at the service of the people. Hopefully an all-inclusive and meaningful dialogue will provide solutions in the ongoing political turmoil.
Accordingly, we submit our petitions in two areas:
1. Accountability on the National Dialogue
2. Establishment of an Independent Commission of Inquiry into all politically related / motivated killings or deaths and the accompanying arson attacks on citizens.
We believe that after the dialogue, we will have a system that will promote the common good, protect individual rights, accountability and it will allow the majority of the citizens to participate in the issues that touch all the spheres of their lives.
Honorable members, the above petitions are respectfully presented to you and they are indispensable conditions for the normalization of the social, economic and political situation and for the Church to serve our country and our people more effectively, especially during the present political unrest. We hope that you will give these petitions due consideration and will help make them a reality.
We pray that God may bring healing amongst all the bereaved families and all victims of political violence
LET US ALL WORK FOR JUSTICE AND PEACE!!!
We sincerely thank you!
Petition presented the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace, Swaziland Coalition of Concerned Church Leaders, the Justice, Peace and Reconciliation Department
Eswatini government continues to refuse hosting a political dialogue
Neal Rijikernberg, the Minister of Finance and Commerce Minister Mancoba Khumalo vigorously opposed a proposed political dialogue during a Parliament caucus on Wednesday afternoon. The caucus came after Manzini North Member of Parliament(MP) Macford Sibandze used Standing Order 58 and urged Parliament to stand-up and address the political challenges facing the country. But Finance Minister Neal Rijikernberg, a capitalist with businesses linked to Mswati,tried to block the MP.
After the submissions of the Manzini North MP, the House of Assembly held a caucus. During the caucus, the MPs first agreed to put cellphones aside to avoid being recorded and leaking information. It was during that private meeting where Commerce Minister Mancoba Khumalo stated categorically that there should be no political dialogue in the midst of the current political situation. “We have decided to put cellphones aside because we fear that they might listen to what we are saying here and target us. So we can’t have a dialogue in the midst of the current situation because even if you can speak eSibayeni, they will target you,” said the Commerce Minister who was supported by Finance Minister Neal Rijikernberg. News :: The Swaziland News
Violence Erupts in Manzini
Violence erupted in Manzini on Thursday 10 November 2022, over the high bail that was set by the court for six transport workers that were arrested on Tuesday 8 November. See the photographs below: