King Mswati Ordered Police to Shoot Protesting SNAT Teachers and Arrested One

Swaziland (Eswatini) is stooping further down low in her political and social norms. How can a police officer, who by job description is supposed to protect the public, pull out a gun and point it at unarmed peaceful protesters???

In light of what happened so far as far as the peaceful protest where Mswati is ordering police to shoot unarmed and defenceless people its high time we looked at our methods and change tactic accordingly!!!! King Mswati is trying to silent dissenting teachers and any dissenting voices by ordering police to shoot peaceful and unarmed SNAT protestors. Today one SNAT activist Maxwell “Zond'iyinkundla” Musa Myeni was arrested by Mswatis CIDs.

Swazi Vigil UK are unreservedly condemning what the Mswati’s Swazi Police force are doing, police are there to protect citizens, not to attack and shoot them. We condemn in the strongest of terms what Mswati and his cohorts, brutal corrupt police force are doing. Such attacks on unarmed teachers should be reported to the international human rights court, it is a violation of basic human rights. People are scared now, and that fear is manifesting itself in the confrontation that took place on Friday outside the SNAT centre, that's why Maxwell Myeni ended up wrestling with the police commander. This has to stop. Police are there to protect. Swazi citizens have a right to protest peacefully. We say no to police brutality!!!!

SNAT members were protesting about the Mswati’s government’s failure to increase teachers’ wages by factoring the Cost Of Living Adjustment (COLA). It is employees’ rights to be compensated with at least the cost of living, no one should have to have their wages reduced by not factoring inflation rates into salaries. It was a peaceful protest, so why did the Mswati regime shoot unarmed protesters??? This is immoral and evil, and we as Swaziland Vigil UK say this must stop, it is gross violation of human life.

Mswati stop your murderous acts and reprehensible behaviour, Swazis have rights to protest and assemble peacefully.

Swazi Vigil believes all humans should have the right to peaceful assembly, freedom to exercise their socio-political rights, they should have freedom of thought, freedom of a belief system of their choice, freedom to express political opinions and certainly freedom to challenge and call the government on the carpet for its actions or lack thereof.

We call upon the Mswati’s government to stop these atrocious attacks on its civilians and law-abiding nationals, professionals, expatriates, and any other resident of Swaziland. The police are under the prime minister’s office, so effectively this kind of violence lands back at the head of the perceived head of government. We say it is the perceived head of government because we all know that the Swaziland Government is a smoke screen and front end of king Mswati’s totalitarian power-hungry regime which will do anything to kill, torture, and quench any dissenting voices.

The killing and wounding of innocent citizens is very much inhumane. Every citizen of a country has a right to complain, be listened to and be heard. If people are silenced through the use of brutal force, how then can change and progress come. We need change in Swaziland, as a matter of urgency. Police brutality must come to an end. Problems must be addressed without killing the citizens who voice them out. Shedding innocent blood will never bring peace but only strife and misery, hatred and pain. The police must stop the killing, stop the brutality, stop destroying lives, and respect citizens of Swaziland. A country is a country because of its citizenry.

According to some of Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT) eye witness members the story began on Friday morning when SNAT members who were holding a peaceful protest in Manzini as part of their Candlelight Vigil, when they were confronted by a few armed police officers. Reports by the Swazi Observer highlighted two main incidents that transpired as a result of the clash between a few police officers and the protesting teachers. One teacher (Willie Dlamini) was rushed to hospital after he incurred injuries in his arm from a police gunshot who used live ammunition on unarmed protesters, the report said. Swazi News headlined the story as shown in Photo 2 below.

Photo 1: (Courtesy: SNAT Vigil Coordinator) Shows Willie 'MaWillies' Dlamini bleeding from a police gunshot wound in his arm on Friday morning 24th August 2018.

Photo 2: Swazi News newspaper headline of Willie Dlamini's story.

Police fired live rounds to unarmed teachers… where are our human rights to life as eMaSwati? The idea that protests are meant for police to disperse and squash, where does that come from? Protests are meant to convey a message to the relevant stakeholders in any environment, how come that Swaziland Police think they should intervene and disperse people who gather to voice their discontent with government… unless of course the government is behind the attack on unarmed professionals.

This is a cry-out for help, where are we going to turn to for redemption if peaceful protests are met with such excessive brutal force and violence, if teachers voicing their discontent with the government wage handouts is treated like an act of war against an oppressive government?

The other incident reported by the Observer involved Maxwell Myeni who strangely man-handled Manzini Station Commander - Raphael Maseko - to the ground, Maseko had his pistol drawn-out all this time but did not pull the trigger according to witnesses. This may have earned Maseko some accolades, but the bigger question is why was he pointing a gun at an unarmed civilian?? Maseko’s duty as a police officer is to protect the very public he threatened with a gun, that is no honourable thing. Maseko should be charged with wielding a gun in public to peaceful protesters who did not come after him, but instead he provoked them with his firearm.

Photo: 3 (Courtesy: Swazi Observer) Manzini Police Station Commander - Raphael Maseko - floored by Maxwell Myeni and vice-versa during the clash between SNAT members and the police on Friday 24th August 2018.

Such police disregard for human life and dignity has spiralled out of control, and the threat police are posing to the public is beyond belief. Police should ensure public safety (to sound like a broken record) not to fight with them nor to squash their peaceful gatherings. This is police abuse of power, the power that was vested to them to keep us the ordinary eMaSwati safe, not to kill, nor hurt nor threaten us or any other human being within the borders of Swaziland.

The latest reports from SNAT say Maxwell “Zond'iyinkundla” Musa Myeni has since been arrested by the police CIDs. We say to SNAT leadership, we stand with you in this situation whilst trying to mount a legal battle on behalf of Maxwell, he’s a true freedom fighter and a true comrade to the struggle for freedom in Swaziland.

Again this is a gross violation of human rights and the Mswati regime should stop all such reprehensible activities at once!!!!

Viva Swazi Vigil… we will continue the struggle until Swaziland is free of this oppressive regime run by draconian Mswati.


Issued by: Swaziland Vigil UK Office.