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Cops crush SWAYOCO Rally at Msunduza

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MSUNDUZA – A Swaziland Youth Congress (SWAYOCO) rally was yesterday afternoon crushed by the police as per the directive of Police Chief Isaac Magagula.

 

Handful SWAYOCO members assembled at Corinte further down the Msunduza Township. The members of the proscribed entity immediately after assembling first held a meeting with some residents of Msunduza. The youths then took to the pot-holed road chanting and singing political songs.

 

One of the songs that galvanised onlookers to join was a song ‘noma siyafa alukho uvalo’ translated to mean even if we die we are not afraid. A few paces from the members of the Operational Services Support Unit (OSSU) came in a police LDV and another one from the Central Transport Administration (CTA). Upon arrival at the intersection of the road leading to Masakhane Butchery next to Prince Makhungu Bus Stop, the riot squad came ready to pounce on the chanting youths.

 

Before getting closer to the police cars a team of more than 20 riot police were already closing in on them and it was at this stage that police started firing stun grenades and rubber bullets. The skies were covered with smoke from the stun grenades.

It was after a few shots were fired in the direction of the marchers that they dispersed and fled to nearby homesteads.

 

At this juncture, the rain fell heavily but the police and the marchers remained resolute to their course of action. A few minutes later the place was deserted and calm returned to the area as the marchers were swallowed by the forests within Msunduza.

 

Security was on high alert as police cars were parked in all corners of the township with a majority of them parked around the Masakhane area. At the time the proscribed entity had scheduled to hold their meeting, the police were loitering around with some standing in groups talking to each other.

 

At about 2pm there was heavy police presence at the Masakhane Shopping Complex with some enjoying roasted mealies.

A majority of the police officers tried to shy away from our cameras while some hurled insults at why they were being photographed.

SWAYOCO Secretary General Maxwell Dlamini said the rally went well and they were able to talk to the people of Msunduza about the importance of not taking part in the upcoming elections.

 

Dlamini said they did want elections as long as they would be under the SADC guidelines that promote the participation of political parties.

"We were able to inform the people about genuine elections. We want a genuine political dialogue that will lead to a lasting solution that will stimulate economic growth. In light of the way the police have been treating our members we will be compelled to lobby the international community not to recognise the Tinkhundla elections.

 

Two of our members were arrested and some were injured while hiding in neighbouring homesteads. The two were treated and discharged at the Mbabane Government Hospital," said Dlamini.

 

Police PRO Superintendent Wendy Hleta confirmed that police arrested two people allegedly belonging to a proscribed entity. She said she received information that some elements were planning to meet and were in defiance of the order issued by police commissioner Isaac Magagula.

 

"It is true that the police are being assisted by members of this entity. We spoke at length about their proposed meeting but they defied the instruction. Efforts by police to talk to them proved futile and they started pelting us with stones and it was at that stage that the police had to employ other means.

 

It was not our intention to have people crying when the country was having such an important event. It took us by surprise as to what kind of people were these who were having an event when all Swazis were gathered at Siteki to celebrate with His Majesty," said Hleta.

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