MBABANE: Senator Thulie Dladla, the Foreign Affairs Minister and the entire Cabinet allegedly tried to mislead the SADC Troika on Politics, Defense and Security regarding the ongoing political crisis by parading politically inactive individuals some who are loyalists and close relatives of the King as members of the civil society.
This transpired on Sunday during a meeting at the Royal Villas at Ezulwini where the Politics and Security Organ of the Southern African Development Community(SADC) was on a fact finding mission on the current turmoil in the country. Jesus Calls Worship Centre(JCWC) Bishop Robert Kasaro, the husband to Home Affairs Minister Princess Lindiwe Fortunate Dlamini was paraded as a 'political activist' and or member of the civil society groups representing the people of eSwatini.
Kasaro is the President of the Swaziland Conference of Churches(SCC), an organisation that has been maintaining its silence regarding the ongoing police brutality and political oppression in the country, however, its leader later emerged as a representative of the people.The religious organisation has been enjoying close ties with King Mswati with some of its members appointed into powerful political positions by the King for supporting the absolute Monarch.
It has been disclosed that leaders of political parties and other groups within the civil society were not informed or invited to be part the SADC meeting, however, after learning that the meeting was taking place at Ezulwini, they went there to engage with the SADC Mission only to find that the King’s loyalists and few pro-democracy civil society leaders were present.
Reached for comments, Senator Thulisile Dladla, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation denied that other groups within within the civil society were sidelined, she said Troika would have another sitting to listen to the voice of the civil society and others.
“No, it is not true Nkhosi. Troika will have another sitting solely to listen to the voice of the Civil Society and others.Unfortunately the invitation to Troika was at short notice and we could not reach out to all the Stakeholders. CANGO will assist in identifying them”, said the Minister.
Efforts to reach Bishop Robert Kasaro proved unsuccessful at the time of compiling this report, however, in a media statement that was quoted by the Times of Eswatini, his religious organisation, the Swaziland Conference of Churches said it was ready to mediate in the midst of the current political unrest.
"We, as the Christian mother body, are committed to mediate between government and all concerned stakeholders in Eswatini. We would like to urge all stakeholders to take heed of this urgent call for meaningful engagement in finding a lasting solution to the prevailing socio-economic instability" the Conference of Churches said in the statement.
But Human Rights Lawyer Thulani Maseko confirmed that political parties and other groups within the civil society were sidelined, he said it seemed others were informed on-time about the meeting while others were not informed at all.
“While we are working towards unity and making sure that everyone within the civil society including the church is represented in such engagements, it seems others were informed on-time about the meeting while others were not” ,said the Human Rights Lawyer.
In a public statement sent to this Swaziland News, the Human Rights Lawyer who is mandated to speak on behalf of political parties and other groups within the civil society said they accepted in principle the deployment of the SADC Troika Team of Ministers by the Chairperson Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi, the President of the Republic of Botswana.
“We would like to point to the delegates and the international community that the current turmoil in the country, showing up as social and economic upheavals leading to violence and insecurity are a result of a longstanding political stalemate. The underlying problem is political in nature and requires a political solution that is beyond the ambit of the current constitutional framework or other local structure. Existing structures render futile any attempts to resolve it via constitutional means as they are severely constricted and unworkable. The key demand of the people and political role-players in the country is and still remains that of a fully-fledged multiparty political dispensation as the ultimate act of restoring power back to the people as was the case prior to April 12,1973” ,said the Human Rights Lawyer.
Eswatini is in the midst of a political crisis, chaos erupted after King Mswati issued a decree banning the delivery of petitions in demand for democratic reforms. King Mswati rules eSwatini as an absolute Monarch, political parties are banned from participating in elections, the King appoints the Prime Minister, Ministers, a majority of Senators and all members of the various Governing Councils.
A team of SADC Troika Minister during the meeting the Ezulwini