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SADC dispatches ministerial delegation to strife-torn eSwatini

A ministerial delegation from the security troika of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) arrived in eSwatini on Sunday for…

A ministerial delegation from the security troika of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) arrived in eSwatini on Sunday for a fact-finding mission aimed at resolving the political situation in the kingdom where protesters have clashed with security forces during the past few weeks.Comprising ministers from Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe, the mission from the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security is being led by Botswana’s Foreign Minister Lemohang Kwape. 

Kwape pledged SADC’s commitment to assisting the people of eSwatini to resolve their differences which have seen pro-democracy protesters calling for constitutional reforms, including a demand for King Mswati III to step down and allow multi-party politics in the kingdom.

“SADC stands ready to support the people of the Kingdom of eSwatini in their quest to bring peace and calm that will lead to the socio-economic development of this country, something that we in the region cherish,” Kwape said on Sunday.

He said the delegation would meet with eSwatini government officials and representatives of civil society.

“We will interact with the government and then proceed to interact with civil society,” Kwape said.

The waves of protests began in May when students and teachers protested the alleged killing of University of Swaziland law student Thabani Nkomonye by the police.

The protests escalated in late June when hundreds of youths took to the streets of the country’s largest city Manzini, about 30 kilometres from the capital Mbabane, demanding democratic reforms. 

The authorities responded by banning protests and deploying soldiers and the police to disperse protesters. 

They also ordered network providers in the country to cut off access to the internet in an attempt to stop the protests.

Unconfirmed reports say dozens of protesters have been killed while scores of others have been arrested.

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