The South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU) condemns the murder of Thulani Maseko, a human rights lawyer and a freedom fighter in eSwatini. It is reported that Comrade Maseko was assassinated at his home in front of his family. This barbarity, which is an expression of sheer oppression by the monarchy, is latest in the spate of protracted attacks on human rights activists in eSwatini.
SAFTU extends its condolences to Maseko’s family, and solidarity to the Multi-Stakeholder Forum.
Learning from experience, we can say without a shadow of doubt that organisations like the United Nations (UN), the African Union (AU) and the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) will not bring justice for Thulani’s death. In the wake of the revolt for freedom in 2021, political parties, labour unions and other pro-democracy organisations in eSwatini met and resolved to demand a dialogue mediated by SADC, AU and United Nations. In the context of the killings that continue unabated, it is clear that the king does not want a dialogue and these international organisations are failing to protect human rights.
Experience has shown that for their efforts, these organisations have massaged Mswati’s regime despite its record of human rights abuse. These abuses have in the recent period reached a peak in 2021. Since then, the regime has accelerated the reign of terror against activists.
Media reports reveal allegations that Mswati hires mercenaries from amongst others, South Africa, to use them against activists. This means the regime is prepared to escalate the insurmountable terror that it has already started unleashing on political activists.
These brutal acts and readiness to brutalise political activists, however, demonstrate the desperate attempts by the regime to prevent the inevitable i.e., the eventual
unshackling of the Swazi people from the clutches of absolute monarchy to constitutional democracy.
May the people of eSwatini unite to bring an end to the brutal monarch of King Mswati and usher in an era of democracy in which their leaders are elected and not determined by bloodlines. In this process, the working people of eSwatini should bear in mind that political freedom alone is not enough, but must be accompanied by radical transformation that socialises the means of production under democratic workers and communities control. This will allow them to distribute the wealth that is currently the exclusive preserve of the economic and royal elite, being used to finance the lavish lifestyle of King Mswati, his family and his securocrats.