MBABANE: King Mswati has invited the Nation to attend the on-going Incwala annual ritual ceremony in the midst of escalating COVID-19 cases and new deaths.
On 13th December 2020, King Mswati when speaking through Ludzidzini Palace Governor Lusendvo Fakudze said the celebration would be held differently this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic but pictures from eNgabezweni Royal Residence show participants dancing without observing social distancing.
“The Ministry of Health officials and officers will be deployed to ensure that all people are screened for COVID-19 during the event. The Ministry will also determine the number of people allowed inside the cattle byre. All people will be expected to heed the advice from the Ministry” said the King as quoted by the Times of Eswatini.
The on-going ceremony continued despite the death of Prime Minister Ambrose Mandvulo Dlamini who died after testing positive to COVID-19 and a surge in confirmed cases as announced by eSwatini Health Minister Lizzie Nkosi.
On Wednesday(16th December 2020), the Health Minister announced 114 new cases and 3 deaths, this was during the third day of the Incwala ceremony were hundreds of citizens danced at eNgabezweni Royal Residence.
Speaking to this Swaziland News, Mlungisi Makhanya, the President of the People’s United Democratic Movement(PUDEMO) expressed serious concerns about the conduct of the King who summoned the Nation to the ritual ceremony in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, he said at least, the ceremony was supposed to be cancelled in honour of the late Prime Minister who died of CoronaVirus last week.
“We would like to appeal to royalty that the best way to honor the Prime Minister is to stop all mass gatherings such as the Incwala ceremony. Evidence all over the world has shown that such gatherings contribute to a major spike in COVID-19 infections” said the PUDEMO President.
When reached for comments earlier, Bheki Mamba, the President of the Swaziland Democratic Nurses Union(SWADNU) said government should take firm decisions to deal with mass gathering as they contribute to the spread of the virus.
“The current infections and death rates show that the country is now entering a second wave of the virus and in other countries, the second wave appears to be even deadlier” said the nurses President.
Regiments during Incwala ceremony