African Envoys Head To Eswatini As Another Protester Killed

One person has died and at least 80 people were injured in pro-democracy protests in Eswatini on Wednesday 20 October 2021, as African nations deployed envoys to try to stem the unrest.

Gunfire was heard into the night in the capital Mbabane, and at least one man had been shot dead earlier that day.

What began as protests against police brutality after the death of a law student, allegedly at the hands of the police, escalated into a bigger movement against Mswati, an autocrat who has kept a tight grip on every branch of the government for more than three decades.

Protesters sing against police violence as unrest hits Eswatini

The kingdom, formerly knownas Swaziland, again shut down the internet as images of the violence began circulating on social media. As the violence again escalated, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa spoke with King Mswati III by telephone on Wednesday morning. President Cyril Ramaphosa has taken a first step aimed at quelling violence in Eswatini, deploying special envoys to the landlocked country amid pro-democracy protests that began in April and have resulted in transport, telecommunications and schooling being suspended at intervals. King Mswati III had made himself immediately available to meet the special enjoys and delegation which will be led by former justice minister Jeff Radebe.

Violent protests in Eswatini have escalated to the point where major towns in the kingdom have shut down and at least 29 people havedied as police clash with protesters in some of the worst unrest in the country’s history. Hundreds of soldiers and police began fanning through both cities, firing teargas at even small gatherings of people and unleashing volleys of rubber bullets.

Videos shared online showed people jumping from the windows of a bus enveloped in white gas.

The Internet went offline, students, transport workers and civil servants extended protests that have ground the tiny nation to a halt for more than two weeks. The Internet shutdown made it difficult to share information about the protests or to alert the families of the wounded and dead.


Heavily armed soldiers and police were seen on the streets, while one Mbabane high school caught fire, sending plumes of smoke billowing over the city.

The King of Eswatini is criticised for living a lavish lifestyle in one of the world’s poorest countries and is also accused of stifling political parties. Mswati, whose reign started in 1986 when he was 18, flaunts his use of public money to fund his lavish lifestyle and he has 15 wives, each of whom has a palace paid for by the administration. In 2019, he was reported to have bought 15 Rolls-Royces and other luxury vehicles for his wives.

In 2009, Forbes estimated his personal wealth to be $200m, making him one the richest monarchs in the world.


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