When one of our African children is killed by the police, it is a threat to all people who are supposed to be protected by that organization. As such, the people of Eswatini responded in outrage with calls for justice and reform after the mysterious police murder of student Thabani Nkomonye in May.
Nkomonye’s murder has pulled back a shroud of injustice to reveal decades of civilian frustrations with the country’s lack of democractic leadership. As the people of Eswatini continue to mourn Nkomonye, their disappointment has given rise to youth-led mobilizations for better, stronger governance in Eswatini.
Africans Rising is in solidarity with the young people, activists and movements in Eswatini that have dared to make their voices heard at this time, risking their lives for a long-held belief that Eswatini is a place where justice and democratic governance are possible.
However, to achieve this future, there must be a change. In the face of these earnest protests, the government has responded by restricting internet access and banning petitions for democratic reform. The Umbutfo Eswatini Defence Force has responded with violence, threatening “the full wrath of our troops” against anyone who does not cooperate with their orders, which include refraining from joining protests. Already dozens of people have been killed for expressing their disagreement with the current state of affairs. This is not the Africa we believe in.
We are issuing this statement because we know that the Kingdom of Eswatini is capable of better treatment of its people. We believe that the people of Eswatini deserve the type of leadership that will ensure them justice, peace and dignity in their daily lives. That is why we are calling on King Mswati III and the government of Eswatini to:
- Withdraw the military from the streets to stop further killings and brutalisation of the public;
- Condemn the killings of civilians by military personnel;
- Lift the curfew and allow movement of people at all times;
- Level the political field which includes: unbanning political parties, releasing political prisoners and returning political exiles;
- Open schools;
- Allow access to the internet.
We call on SADC, the African Union and United Nations to take leadership and intervene for the cause of justice in Eswatini. These international authorities must use their powers to initiate investigations and facilitate conflict resolution in the country.
We also call on our Africans Rising membership to take action. Please sign this petition demanding the government of Eswatini cease all forms of violent action against its people. After signing, please amplify this petition by sharing it on your social media platforms or sending a copy to the Eswatini embassy or consulate in your country. The more people who sign and share, the more visibility and pressure we create in this call for justice. Let’s stand together for Eswatini.
Africans Rising for Justice, Peace and Dignity