Zimbabwean civic society organizations, under the banner of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC), have expressed their strong opposition to the Zimbabwean government’s invitation to King Mswati III of Eswatini to officially open the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF), citing his tainted history of human rights abuses.
The ZITF, which runs from April 25-29, 2021, is a premier business event in Zimbabwe that attracts exhibitors from across the globe.
CiZC spokesperson Obert Masaraure said King Mswati’s visit is an ‘assault’ to democratic values and human rights.
“King Mswati Ill is a soiled leader with the blood of innocent citizens killed for legitimately demanding elections based on one person one vote. and not selections in that Ngwane Kingdom. His government stands accused of deploying the military to shoot at civilians, jailing hundreds, injuring thousands and killing many including the most recent victim of state sponsored terror, Advocate Thulani Maseko
“As progressive Zimbabweans, we do not welcome such a despot and his presence in the country is an affront to the values of democracy and human rights. By welcoming an absolute monarch who is known for his repressive tactics. President Emmerson Mnangagwa is being complicit in the continued violence and oppression in Eswatini. As leaders of the Southern African region, they have a responsibility to uphold democratic values and human rights for all citizens,” said Masaraure
CiZC implored SADC leaders to take concrete steps to improve the situation and to uphold democratic values and fundamental human rights for all citizens in the region.
“We continue to urge SADC leaders to take concrete steps to improve the situation and to uphold democratic values and fundamental human rights for all citizens in the region. We stand in solidarity with the people of Swaziland demanding political and economic justice, particularly economic reforms where the Monarchy controls all economic facets and the ordinary citizens are reduced to beggars.
“What saddens us most is welcoming a ruthless and unaccountable leader to Bulawayo. itself a hub of unresolved injustices where an estimated 20,000 civilians were killed by a similarly unaccountable and unapologetic government in the 1980s. The business community especially the leadership of the ZITF ought to respect the spirit of the Zimbabwean Constitution in respecting rights, not just of Zimbabweans. but all people including sons and daughters of Eswatini,” said CiZC
King Mswati III has been under heavy criticism following the gruesome murder of human rights activist Thulani Maseko in January this year. Maseko fiercely criticized Mswati’s autocratic rule.