MBABANE: A member of the Umbutfo Eswatini Defense Force(UEDF) who is supporting the pro-democracy protests behind the scenes has urged Swazis to protest for at least three(3) weeks almost everyday so that Government could move around trying to control the situation and subsequently run of out resources.
The soldier who is very close to members of Defense Military Council said the number of soldiers who are aggrieved with the current political system is growing everyday and some of them have taken a position that they would not take any order to fight the people.
“This came at the time when Government was broke and it’s an advantage to the people, it’s just that some of us need to share the information. As the situation stands, there’s no sufficient petrol, besebacala kwetsa eMdzimba(meaning:they were sourcing fuel from Mdzimba Barracks), this means if these protests could continue for at least three weeks, the security forces would be grounded and the people would march without being disturbed and take over the country. The good strategy here is to organise the protests in all Constituencies around the country at the same time so that security forces could be scattered and use more resources”, said the soldier.
The UEDF member said some of them were prepared to stand with the people once the situation reached that point adding that a majority of them particularly junior soldiers are financially struggling and hope for a better life in a new democratic government.
Eswatini is facing growing calls for democratic reforms as protests spread to the rural areas, King Mswati through the Acting Prime Minister ,Themba Masuku issued a decree this week banning all protests.
But pro-democracy MPs and leaders of the Political Parties Assembly(PPA) urged Swazis to defy the Acting Prime Minister and continue delivering petitions in the various Constituencies.
Mbongwa Dlamini, the President of the Swaziland National Association of Teachers(SNAT) when speaking during a press conference on Thursday said Swazis cannot seek permission from the Acting PM to express themselves and call for democratic reforms, he said a National mass protest to deliver a petition straight to Ludzidzini Palace would be organised.
"We are not seeking permission from you, if need be, a national mass protest to deliver a petition at Ludzidzini would be organised" ,said the SNAT President.
Mlungisi Makhanya, the President of the People's United Democratic Movement(PUDEMO) who was speaking during another press conference at Summerfield organised by a collaboration of political parties through the Political Parties Assembly(PPA) said it was clear that the 1973 Decree was still functional in the country. He said the delivery of petitions would continue ahead of a mass national protest in demand for democratic reforms adding that they also wanted to stop the construction of the new E1.6billion Parliament.
"The Acting Prime Minister must not think we are done with the petitions, we are organising another big march to stop the construction of the new Parliament," said the PUDEMO President.
Mbongiseni Shabangu, the Secretary General of the Swaziland Democratic Party(SWADEPA) said the ongoing protests and delivery of petitions would be stopped once the government surrenders power to the people.
Protestors during a delivery of a petition at Sithobelweni