SADC Youths Pile Pressure On Region To End Eswatini Impasse

Southern Africa Development Committee (SADC) youths organisations have demanded the immediate intervention of the region to end the political impasse in Eswatini.

The organisations under the banner of Southern African People’s Solidarity Network (SAPSN) Youth Network also demanded the unconditional release of all political prisoners, return of exiled Eswatini pro-democracy activists and dropping of spurious charges against those calling for democratic reform.

In a strongly worded statement released by the SAPSN Youth Network, the organisations said SADC’s failure to release and share publicly a report from its fact-finding mission into Eswatini was a failure to uphold human rights of the citizens.

“We condemn SADC leaders’ failure to announce a Regional position on Eswatini during the Lilongwe SADC Summit held in August and urge SADC leaders to convene an Extra-ordinary Summit to formulate a regional plan of action on Eswatini.

“We plead with SADC leaders to urgently facilitate an inclusive national dialogue process to help the people of Eswatini make the transition from monarchical dictatorship to a just, equal and prosperous society.

“So far, the cries of the Youth of Eswatini have been met with violence, repression, social media shutdowns and disruptions to schooling and access to public services. Young people continue to suffer the most,” read part of the Statement.

The new wave of unrest in Africa’s last absolute monarchy came three months after government forces quashed earlier rioting, leading to an internet outage and use of excessive force by the government.

Last week’s shooting of a protester in Malkerns, 20km west of the country’s largest city Manzini on Wednesday, have once again ignited students, taxi operators and pro-democracy activists back on the streets.

Activists inside Mbabane, the capital city, have confirmed that most users sharing pictures on social media are using Virtual Private Network (VPN) to share pictures of injured citizens and schoolchildren.