On Friday, pro-democracy supporters and sympathizers of the assassinated human rights lawyer Thulani Maseko,who was brutally murdered by an unknown assassin on January 21, marched to the Manzini Police Regional Headquarters to demand justice.
They presented six demands and shared nine points which they said made them believe that the absolute monarch and his government, police and army cannot be excluded from the suspects.
Government has denied any involvement in the brutal murder of Maseko who was shot dead in cold-blood in the presence of his wife and their two sons, aged 10 and seven at their home at ka-Luhleko. This was on the night of January 21.
Maseko had been persistent in his calls for a national dialogue stalled by government under the pretext that the environment is not conducive for talks on the country’s political future.
The marchers also blamed SADC leaders for failing the people of eSwatini saying if the much anticipated political dialogue the king promised in July 2021 had taken place, the security and arrogance of the authorities would not have deteriorated to the crisis level.
“There must be an independent international investigation of the assassination of Comrade Thulani Maseko supervised by the United Nations (UN), the African Union (AU) and Southern African Development Community (SADC). The investigation should be extended to include all murders and destruction of the property of activist that has taken place since June 29, 2021,” reads the first demand.
They also demanded the intervention of SADC and the AU with peace-keeping mission to restore security of all citizens.
The third demand was a mediated political dialogue and negotiations to restore order.
“We demand multiparty-democracy and free and fair elections, we say no to Tinkhundla elections. We demand the compensation of all victims of the 2021 massacre,” further reads the petition.
They also demanded that the military and all armed forces be unconditionally withdrawn from the streets to end the atrocities and human rights violations.
The petition, which was delivered by Pudemo Secretary General, Wandile Dludlu on behalf of the mass democratic movement, was received by Regional Commissioner,Schoolboy Simelane.
“We accept the petition, we will take it and pass it to the relevant authorities who will in turn respond to it,” he said.
While justifying their belief of the involvement of government in the assassination of Maseko, the movement stated that it has observed an unholy alliance between the security cluster, the king and government openly colluding to kill, intimidate and burn houses of activists in the cloak of darkness without any accountability.
“This appears to be the official policy of government to suspend the rule of law and the courts and to take the law into your own hands. Since June 2021 where over 100 unarmed Swazis were executed and over 300 were injured by the combined armed forces of the state on the instruction of the king; no investigations and prosecutions have taken place,” said Dludlu when delivering the petition.
He wondered why the nation must trust the police that they will be able to investigate Maseko’s assassination.
They said the merciless assassination of Maseko takes place within the context where police, army, the government and the king are waging a war against political leaders and activists who are leading the call for political reforms.
“We believe the assassination of Thulani Maseko was an attempt to derail the demands of the people for democratic reforms. The country’s leaders have suspended the rule of law and opted for the rule of the gun. We will not rest until the cause which our leader and hero Thulani Maseko died for is attained,” further reads the petition.
Shots fired at bus rank protestor shot leg
A man who was wearing a Swaziland Liberation Movement (SWALIMO) shirt was shot on the leg by the police with live rounds.
Soon after the petition delivery at the regional headquarters, the protestors passed by the police station chanting political slogans and then made their way to the Manzini Bus Rank. Along the way some started empting bins and blocking the road something that did not sit well with the police.
While the protestors were between the Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) outlet and the Radio Shop, a police officer coming from the bus rank direction started firing at the protestors and the man was shot. The Pudemo secretary confirmed five cases of injured people and two of them were admitted at the Raleigh Fitkin Memorial Hospital badly injured.