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EFF demands diplomatic intervention in Eswatini after pro-democracy protests

04 July 2021 - 18:42 By andisiwe makinana
A horse-trailer truck has been burnt into ashes by protesters in eSwatini who are demanding a democratic rule to replace the monarch.
A horse-trailer truck has been burnt into ashes by protesters in eSwatini who are demanding a democratic rule to replace the monarch.
Image: Supplied

The EFF is demanding diplomatic intervention in Eswatini amid protests for democracy in what the party calls “the despotic kingdom”.

It has suggested that former SA president Thabo Mbeki be deployed for this purpose.

“We call for immediate intervention and mediation in Eswatini that is guided primarily by the need to meet the demands for democracy and equal redistribution of the wealth of the country.

“All efforts to bring calm to the Eswatini nation must be based on ensuring that the status quo of abuse of power, corruption and controlling of state resources by one individual is permanently done away with and a people’s government is established,” the EFF said on Sunday.

It said the situation in Eswatini shows the need for mediation by experienced African statespeople who will ensure a peaceful transition to democracy and long-lasting political and economic reforms.

“It is only through decisive mediation that peace will be achieved in Eswatini. This will require concession by those who are confronted by the revolution to the demands of the people. Failure to do this will result in prolonged bloodshed and conflict, which is detrimental to the project of African unity and independence,” said the EFF.

It called on continental bodies such as the AU and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to use tested leaders, such as Mbeki, to resolve conflicts on the continent.

The EFF said Mbeki has exhibited his capacity to resolve conflicts related to democracy and establish stability in governance. It cited Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi, Côte d’Ivoire, Libya, Cameroon and the Middle East as examples of his track record.

The continent and the world have witnessed unrepentant violence, persecutions, kidnapping and the murder of civilians in the country as a result of genuine demands for democratic reforms and a principled stance against corruption by the monarchy, said the party.

It accused the AU and the SADC of being silent and inactive as human rights abuses are perpetrated against activists and internet and network services suspended to hide the massacre of people by state security.

In a statement on Friday, President Mokgweetsi Masisi of Botswana, the current chairperson of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security, called on “all individuals, groups and organisations that have grievances to desist from acts of violence, while also urging the security services to exercise restraint in their response to restore order and normalcy”.

This week demonstrators in Eswatini took to the streets to demand reforms. Chaotic scenes unfolded, with cars torched, shops looted and roads blocked.

Activists have reported several fatalities and scores of injuries as law-enforcement personnel pushed back against protesters.