MBABANE: Army Commander Jeffery Shabalala, one of the senior army personnel who were implementing King Mswati’s shoot to kill order during the recent chaotic pro-democracy protests is currently bedridden after testing positive to COVID-19 about a week ago.
This disclosure comes after this publication reported that Prince Sihlangsemphi Dlamini, the National Chief Defense Officer tested positive to COVID-19 and was rushed to Mbabane Clinic on Thursday night, Dlamini and the Army Commander were working closely with Phocweni Commanding Officer(CO) Brigadier General Thembinkosi Mngometulu and others to mastermind the shooting and killing of dozens of civilians as per Mswati’s order.
Reached for comments, Welcome Mdluli, the President of the Swaziland Democratic Nurses Union(SWADNU) warned that COVID-19 would spread rapidly within the security forces as some officers were disregarding regulations when implementing orders in dispersing protestors.
“Even during our protest march to Parliament on Wednesday, police arrived loaded in a truck and it seems these people once they are given the orders they stop reasoning and thinking for the safety of their lives and their families. This means, we are yet to see a serious problem within the security forces, they will spread the virus to members of the public” ,said the Nurses Union President.
A communication between the Army Commander and other security personnel seen by this Swaziland News suggests that Jeffery Shabalala tested positive to COVID-19 on or around 03 August 2021, his wife and children also tested positive.
When this publication called the Army Commander for a comment, his phone rang unanswered, he did not respond to a text sent to him.
On Saturday, this publication obtained documents substantiating how Prince Hlangusempi, the National Defense Chief Officer was rushed to Mbabane Clinic at night, this was subsequently confirmed by a close family member.
“It’s true, he is currently admitted at the clinic but responding well to treatment”, said the family member.
Efforts were made to reach Tengetile Khumalo, the army Spokesperson, however, her number was not available on the mobile network.
The spread of COVID-19 among these officers comes at a time when international human rights organizations are intensifying the process of ensuring that King Mswati, his senior security officers and others who enforced an order to shoot and kill civilians face crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court(ICC).
Eswatini, a tiny Kingdom situated in Southern Africa is simultaneously facing a political crisis and a surge in COVID-19 cases. On Saturday,Health Minister Lizzie Nkosi confirmed 410 new cases and 9 new deaths. This then brings the total number of confirmed cases to 30,787 with 23,093 recoveries.
Army Commander Jeffery Shabalala and Chief Defense Officer Prince Sihlangusemphi