MADONSA: Evicted 89 families at Madonsa in the outskirts of Manzini are appealing to the international community and the Nation for donations to raise at least E2million to buy a piece of land.
Eswatini, a tiny Kingdom situated in Southern Africa and ruled by King Mswati as an absolute Monarch has about 70% of its population living below the poverty, a majority of the citizens are now facing evictions as King Mswati and other royal linked institutions intensifies moves to grab land including Farms held by the Ingwenyama in Trust for the Swazi Nation.
The evicted residents that include women and children had acquired the land at Mandosa Chiefdom through Swazi Law and Custom(Kukhonta), however, they were subsequently taken to court by the Eswatini National Provident Fund(ENPF) that claims ownership of land under Farm 319, King Mswati's brother Prince Lonkhonkhela is the Provident Fund Chief Executive Officer(CEO).
As previously reported by this Swaziland News, more citizens across the country are expected to be homeless in the next few months as King Mswati and other royal linked institutions intensifies moves to grab Swazi Nation Land(SNL) including Farms from citizens.
Speaking to this Swaziland News, Fikile Mbuyisa, one of the victims said the Provident Fund tabled a E4.7 million non-negotiable offer to sell them the Farm, however, she said the amount was too expensive for them as residents as a majority of the affected facilities are headed by children widows who are struggling to put food on the table.
“We had acquired the land through kukhonta, when the ENPF threatened us with evictions, we took the matter to court where it was resolved that we should at least buy the farm. The ENPF then tabled a E4.7 million non-negotiable offer, but the majority of the families here are headed by children and widows who can’t afford to contribute.We plead with the Nation and international organisations to help us raise at least E2million so we can buy an alternative piece of land that will accommodate all of the 89 families”, she said.
When reached for comments ,Colani Hlatjwako, the One Billion Rising Africa Coordinator said the justice system continued to fail women and vulnerable groups in the country. She also applauded the selflessness demonstrated by the women who are facing evictions.
“On Thursday, we had a meeting with the women who are facing eviction at Madonsa, the only thing that these women are asking for is to have land where they can stay with their children .They said they can’t leave behind the child headed families, which is a commendable selfless act”, said the Coordinator
In an earlier interview with this publication, Robert Shivambu, the Amnesty International Media Manager for East and Southern Africa said they were deeply concerned with the forced evictions in Eswatini adding that they forced people into poverty.
“We will put pressure on the government to stop these evictions because they have negative consequences for the people who are directly involved .We are saying to the government they must halt these evictions because they are going to throw people into poverty,” he said.
Speaking to this Swaziland News, Senator Dlamini, a land rights activist urged Swazis to unite and establish a Land Movement that will facilitate protest across the country in demand for the Constitutional right to land.
"As Nation we must unite and establish a Land Movement so we can fight for our right to land, this movement will unite the people who are affected by the evictions across the country" he said.