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Government blocks intended pro-democracy protest in Matsapha

Wednesday, 4th December, 2019

MATSAPHA: His Majesty King Mswati’s Government through the Matsapha Municipality blocked a pro-democracy protest organized by the Political Parties Assembly (PPA).

Thamsanqa Hlatswayo, the Secretary General of the Ngwane National Liberation Congress (NNLC) who serves in the PPA Secretariat said they had applied to protest within the streets of Matsapha as part of their political plan to create awareness regarding the leadership crisis in the country. 

“Our application was denied and when we arrived in the Municipality offices to engage them further, we were told that the CEO was not available. This is an indication that the country continues to undermine the right to protest,” he said.

The Secretary General said they had similar challenges in Mbabane where they were stopped from protesting by the Municipality. It has been disclosed that other PPA members who tried to engage the Matsapha Municipality include Jan Sithole, the President of the Swaziland Democratic Party (SWADEPA), Wandile Dludlu of the People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO), Legal representative Thulani Maseko and Elliot Mkhatshwa, the SWADEPA National Chairperson.

A letter in our possession from the Matsapha Municipality addressed to the political entities alleged that the intended gathering was a threat to public security. 

“The prohibition of the intended gathering has, upon consultation with the Regional Royal Eswatini Police Services has been deemed to have a potential of being a danger to public security, public order, public safety and health. The unavailability of security forces who are currently committed in national duties and therefore traffic officers will not be available to control the traffic,” said Sukati. 

When the Municipality Public Relations officer Babhekile Dlamini was contacted on the content of the letter she directed all questions to the CEO. Numerous attempts were made to call him but his phone rang unanswered and a questionnaire was sent to him which he has still not answered.     

  

Government blocks intended pro-democracy protest in Matsapha
Protesters during a recent march