HOSEA: King Mswati allegedly violated the Constitution by commanding the police to assault and stop a prayer by Christians who had gathered at Hosea to pray to their God in solidarity with their arrested pro-democracy Member of Parliament Bacede Mabuza.
The MP who commands a huge following in his Constituency and the country was arrested together with another Legislator from Ngwempisi Inkhundla Mthandeni Dube for calling for democratic reforms on behalf of the people who elected them.
Freedom of religion has been under attack in this tiny Kingdom of eSwatini, religious gatherings organized by citizens calling for democratic reforms are dispersed by armed security forces.
Reached for comments, Sibongile Mazibuko, the President of the Ngwane National Liberatory Congress(NNLC) confirmed that Christianity was partly allowed by the King on condition that those Pastors would use religion and manipulate the people to endorse him.
“Christianity is partly allowed in this country, Pastors are expected to say “Bayethe” and endorse the King. You will recall that even at the peak of the COVID-19, his Incwala ritual ceremony was held and people got infected with the virus despite that churches were closed”, said the NNLC President.
Speaking to this Swaziland News, Richard Vilane, the Hosea Constituency Headman confirmed that Mswati’s police had, on numerous occasions stopped their religious gatherings in support of their arrested MP.
“Whenever we organise a prayer in solidarity with our MP, police would come, assault and disperse us. Even today(Saturday) we have organized another prayer in the Mountains and we didn’t announce the meeting point because they might come again”, he said.
It has been disclosed that between 31st October and the 12th November 2021, police stopped at least two religious gatherings at Hosea, not to mention the use of guns to disrupt funerals for deceased political activists.
The persecution of Christians who are calling for democratic reforms in eSwatini comes at a time when the country is facing growing calls for democratic reforms.
Section 23(1) of the Constitution states that a person has a right to freedom of thought, conscience or religion.
Questions were sent to Home Affairs Minister Princess Lindiwe whose portfolio is responsible for religion, however, she had not responded at the time of compiling this report.
Reached for comments, Wandile Dludlu, Secretary General of the People’s United Democratic Movement(PUDEMO) said in the midst of the growing calls for democratic reforms, eSwatini was placed under marshal law by Mswati.
“It\'s not that the King is fighting MP Bacede by stopping these prayers and violating the freedom of religion, he is actually fighting the Swazis and defending the Tinkhundla system that elevated him into the status of a god. It is for these reasons we must be united as Swazis and liberate ourselves”, said the PUDEMO Secretary General.