LUGONGOLWENI: The youth of Lugongolweni in the Lubombo region will deliver a petition to their Member of Parliament (MP) Thethi Magongo on Saturday alling for him to stop the construction of a prison in Lukhula, outside few kilometres away from Siteki in the Lubombo region.
Shepherd Dlamini, a leader of the Lugongolweni youth said they wanted government to establish income generating projects for the unemployed instead of constructing jails for them.
"The prison will be built in an arable piece of land which we could use for agricultural projects that would generate income for the unemployed youth.The unemployment rate is high in this country, instead of availing job opportunities, government is building jails in anticipation of a high crime rate that would result from the same high unemployment rate which need to be tackled. Tomorrow we will be petitioning our MP calling for him to stop the construction of the prison, government should be focusing on building more Vocational centers in order to empower the youth with skills instead of building jails", he said.
When reached for comments, Lugongolweni MP Thethi Magongo invited the youth for dialogue but advised against marching to the Inkhundla centre since government had banned all forms of protests and petition deliveries.
"I would like to invite the youth to come forward so we can amicably address this issue, there is a lot of arable land in my constituency that can be used for farming. The issue of the Prison is beyond my jurisdiction since the project was already in the pipeline when I got into Parliament. MY door is always open, they can come at any time so we can address their issues but for safety reasons, I would not be available tomorrow since government has banned the petition deliveries", said the MP.
But Colani Maseko, the President of the Swaziland National Union of Students (SNUS) said they were fully behind the Lugongolweni youth and urged them to deliver their petition without fail since democracy would never come on a silver platter.
"These are tendencies of this oppressive government, it's always embarking on useless projects that do not contribute anything to the economy. The Lugongolweni youth is right and we are fully behind them as a union. We have more than enough jails in the country, what we can promise the Nation is that in a democratic government we will avail income generating projects instead of jails and useless Parliament buildings. I would like to encourage the Lugongolweni youth not to be intimidated by governmnet and the Police, they should come in their numbers to deliver their petition and be ready for anything since freedom will never come on a silver platter", said the SNUS President.
Senator Themba Masuku, the Acting Prime Minister on Thursday announced the ban of all forms of protests and petition deliveries citing the COVID-19 regulations and elements of regime change. The pronouncement was further enforced my the National Commissioner of Police Tsintsibala Dlamini through a press statement on Friday. Police then fired live ammunition and teargas to disperse protesters who were calling for democratic reforms at Msunduza, outside Mbabane.
Eswatini, a tiny Kingdom situated in Southern Africa and ruled by King Mswati as an absolute Monarch is facing growing calls for democratic reforms as protests spread to the rural areas.
Lugongolweni Member of Parliament (MP) Thethi Magongo