A special envoy of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Organ on Defence, Politics and Security Cooperation has been appointed to engage with King Mswati III of the Kingdom of eSwatini on security and political developments in the Kingdom.
This comes necessary following fresh pro democratic protests started months after authorities quashed an earlier round of protests in June 2021.
At least 29 people have been killed since the protests started, as shops were looted and businesses set on fire as protests demanding that the country be democratized, ban on political parties lifted in the face of dire economic situation in the country where the king lives and flaunts ostentatious lifestyle.
Demonstrations against the authoritarian monarchy escalated following the shooting of a student in mid-May with protest marches in at least 10 locations, mainly in rural areas despite a ban placed by the king on pro-democracy demonstrations.
The special SADC delegation includes Jeffrey Radebe, a former South African government minister, and Candith Mashego-Dlamini, South Africa’s deputy minister of international relations and cooperation, as well as representatives from Botswana and Namibia.
The envoy will be accompanied by SADC Executive Secretary Elias Magosi and other senior SADC officials and are scheduled to meet with King Mswati III.
Speaking on their mission, Jeff Radebe said “The prospects depend on the people of eSwatini, our role is to facilitate the resolution of the political challenges that the people are faced with and I am very confident that especially as South Africa having been good neighbours with eSwatini, having historic relations that we are one family.”
“Whatever happens at eSwatini has a negative impact not only to South Africa but to the Southern African region. I don’t think there are problems that are big or small, if we sit around the table there must be solutions, I will go to eSwatini with an open mind. We are committed as Africans to Agenda 2063 of The Africa We Want to See, that is the objective at the end of the day. Our mission is simple, though I know that the issues are very complex, it is our responsibility for us to simplify the issues so that we come to solution as to what is needed as the lasting solution to the people and the nation of eSwatini,” he said.
King Mswati III has ruled eSwatini, formally known as Swaziland, since 1986. Mswati’s rule has been criticized for being heavy-handed in dealing with protesters as well as blocking communications channels in the Kingdom.