MBABANE: Senator Themba Masuku, the Acting Prime Minister has imposed more COVID-19 restrictions ahead of nation-wide protests within the various Tinkhundla Centres next week.
Eswatini, a tiny Kingdom situated in Southern Africa and ruled by billionaire King Mswati as an absolute Monarch has about 70% of the population living below the poverty line, the citizens are now protesting particularly in the rural areas demanding democratic reforms with the King's police responding with violence against peaceful demonstrations.
On Friday, the Acting Prime Minister announced strengthened level two COVID-19 restrictions which will come into effect on Monday 14 June 2021 and as per the strengthened restrictions, a maximum of only fifty(50) people are allowed to attend an indoor community gathering and one hundred(100) for an outdoor.
“Only a maximum of 50 people can attend and this should be held within two hours. Outdoors: A maximum of 100 people can attend and this should be held within two hours. All other standard protective measures should be in place including 1.5m social distancing” said the Acting Prime Minister in a statement.
Reached for comments, Colani Maseko, the President of the Swaziland National Union of Students(SNUS) urged the youth and the Nation at large not to listen to the Acting Prime Minister and continue with the mass action until he updates the people about the procurement of the E200million COVID-19 vaccines.
“This is not our Prime Minister but a puppet boy for the King, he was not elected by us so the people must not listen to him until he updates us about the procurement of the E200million vaccines. They decided to reduce the numbers for gatherings not because they are fighting COVID-19 but to defuse the mass action calling for democratic reforms, if they were fighting the virus, the vaccines would have long been purchased”, said the Students President.
In January 2021, Acting Prime Minister Themba Masuku released a public statement informing the Nation that Government has budgeted E200million to purchase COVID-19 vaccines, since then, an update regarding the arrival of the vaccines has been marred by one excuse after another from both the Acting PM and Health Minister Lizzie Nkosi.
Speaking to this Swaziland News, Welcome Mdluli, the President of the Swaziland Democratic Nurses Union(SWADNU)said as much as they welcomed the strengthened restrictions as means of fighting the virus, they were concerned that Government was staggering in vaccinating the Nation adding that restrictions alone cannot be successfully used to fight COVID-19.
“These are signs of a Government that doesn’t care about the people, by this time Government should have long completed the vaccination of health workers and focusing on members of the public.You can’t fight COVID-19 by imposing restrictions only, we need drugs in hospitals and other working equipment and the vaccination should intensify,” said the Nurses Union President.
Meanwhile, citizens across the country particularly the youth are organizing protests to petition their various Members of Parliament(MPs) next week, they are demanding democratic reforms and other social services.
Acting Prime Minister Themba Masuku