MBABANE: King Mswati has issued a decree stopping the delivery of petitions across the the country as pro-democracy protests intensify spreading rapidly to the rural areas.
The decree was announced on Thursday by Acting Prime Minister Themba Masuku who currently holds Executive powers on behalf of the King, it comes about 48hours ahead of a petition delivery at Siphofaneni Inkhundla whose MP Mduduzi 'Magawugawu' Simelane is facing persecution and intimidation from government for calling for democratic reforms.
Thousands of citizens across the country marched to their various Constituencies to deliver petitions demanding democratic reforms including an elected Prime Minister, the King’s Government through the Acting Prime Minister said the protests have been hijacked by elements seeking to influence regime change.
“In light of the above, Government has reached the decision to stop with immidiate effect the delivery of petitions to Tinkhundla Centres” said the Acting Prime Minister.
The order almost similar to the 1973 Decree issued by the late King Sobhuza when he banned political parties and assumed Executive, Judicial and Legislative powers comes after the Acting Prime Minister first disputed that MPs advocating for democracy were mandated by the people to call for an elected Prime Minister.
Eswatini is facing growing calls for democratic reforms, citizens in the rural areas petitioned the King’s Government through their MPs, demanding democratic reforms. The country is ruled by King Mswati as an absolute Monarch, political parties are banned from participating in elections, the King appoints the Prime Minister, Ministers, Judges, a majority of Senators and all members of the various Governing Councils.