Tuesday, 19 October 2021:- The Communist Party of Swaziland (CPS) notes the statement of concern by the United Nations, issued through the office of the UN Secretary General on Monday 18 October 2021, condemning the excessive use of force by Swaziland security forces against unarmed protesters.
The CPS welcomes the UN Secretary General’s condemnation of the Mswati autocracy’s deployment of armed security forces at various schools, excessive use of force in response to student demonstrations, and the indefinite closure of schools, all of which adversely affect children and young people.
The CPS agrees with the UN Secretary General’s emphasis on the importance of enabling the people of Swaziland to exercise their civil and political rights. As the UN Secretary General has stated, the Swaziland government must ensure that security forces act in conformity with relevant international human rights standards, including the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
While the CPS welcomes the directive from the UN Secretary General, the CPS would like to draw the UN’s attention to the fact that the absolute monarch has committed egregious crimes against humanity in Swaziland. Mswati III, as the military’s commander-in-chief, is directly responsible for the death of over 70 people, the wounding and maiming of hundreds, and the arrest of close to 700 protesters since June this year. These attacks on an unarmed population flowed from direct commands issued by the absolute monarch.
As an absolute monarch, Mswati is not accountable to any of the state and non-state institutions in the country. He is above the law and wields executive, legislative, and judicial powers. He is immune from the Swaziland criminal justice system, and thus cannot be prosecuted for the crimes he has committed against the people.
On the other hand, the protesting masses have been unarmed – and this has been the well-known reality since 1973. Very young school children, youth, women, workers, vendors, and other protestors have received the regime’s full military might. Many young people have been dragged out from their homes and heavily brutalised by the military, some even thrown into raging fires.
The relationship between the oppressor and the oppressed is thus manifestly not an equal one. As such, it is not the oppressed people who bear the duty to tone down on their protests, but, rather, the regime which must recall its military back to barracks and stop the state violence.
In addition to committing the atrocities on an unarmed population, Mswati has demonstrated beyond any shadow of doubt that he is unmalleable towards any peaceful dialogue pertaining to the democratisation of the country. He has, instead, elected to brutalise the people further while continuing the siphoning of public funds, in the process deepening the economic and political hardships of the population. The oppressed people have thus earned the right to relentlessly engage in civil disobedience in their quest for democracy.
The CPS calls for the UN to sensitise both the African Union (AU) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) on the atrocities committed by the ruling regime in Swaziland. Both the AU and SADC have remained silent on the calls for democracy in Swaziland, including the respect for human rights. They bear the duty to force the Mswati autocracy to adhere to international human rights law as signatories to the founding charters of both bodies.
ISSUED BY THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF SWAZILAND
Thokozane Kenneth Kunene
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