The Deputy Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Eswatini, Themba Masuku says the country’s constitution allows for a change in political reform.

Eswatini citizens have been protesting calling for political reform in the tiny kingdom. Masuku was speaking to SABC News on a range of issues, since the unrest.

He says, “I just want to point out that our constitution provides a mechanism to reform the constitution. So political reforms can happen in that the constitution, so we believe that whatever the nation want to change, our constitution provides for that political reform.”

Use of live ammunition

Masuku has also denied that police have been using live ammunition on the pro-democracy protesters. He says the police are deployed to the streets to protect properties in the Kingdom.

This follows the Swaziland Solidarity Network’s allegations that Eswatini King Mswati has sourced assistance from the army of Equatorial Guinea to deal with the deteriorating situation in the kingdom.

“There is no truth in all of it. There are police shooting people in the street. What happened yesterday was that; we had that march which was supposed to have been peaceful, which had been authorised to take place, but it could not take place because as a country, we run its affairs through intelligence. We had received intelligence that then compelled the government to cancel the march. I want to emphasise that the people march in this country are supported by the constitution and other pieces of legislation that exist in the country,” says Masuku.

SADC mediation 

On Tuesday, former South African Minister Jeff Radebe said prospects of success in interventions in the Eswatini situation depend on the citizens of the Kingdom.

Radebe is among the Southern African Development Community (SADC) envoys that President Cyril Ramaphosa has sent to meet with King Mswati III amid ongoing protest.

Radebe said he hopes the SADC deployment will address the current unrest in Eswatini.

Interview with Radebe:

 

DA denounces use of force

Democratic Alliance (DA) leader, John Steenhuisen, condemned what he terms the “police’s unnecessary use of excessive force” against pro-democracy demonstrators in Eswatini. Steenhuisen also called on SADC’s envoys to act quickly.

“Let’s us condemn the abuse of force against pro-democracy demonstrations. I think government there needs to show restraint and open up a dialogue rather than trying to suppress or quell by using violent means because that is only going to make the situation worse. I think SADC needs to get far more involved there. I think we should resist the bringing in of troops from Equatorial Guinea and other places. It’s only gonna escalate the violence. The focus must only be on dialogue,” he added.

VIDEO: Unpacking the situation in Eswatini with Member of Parliament from the Siphofaneni Party, Mduduzi Simelane:

Additional reporting by Ditaba Tsotetsi and Patrick Dintwa.

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