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We are living in an era where there is frustration from ordinary people on government’s ability and incapacity to address people’s issues. It must be appreciated that governments are there to deliver a better life for all. No individual must accept a life of poverty and hopelessness. We all, as God’s creatures, have aspirations for better lives. Youth populations are increasing, especially in Eswatini, and these demographic pressures are producing growing demands for jobs, education and opportunities. Record numbers of highly educated youths are unemployed. Even before the pandemic wreaked havoc on economies around the world, popular expectations of economic justice and opportunity clashed with disappointing realities in economies that have been weakened in the wake of recurrent financial crises.


The emergence of populist nationalist leaders has challenged the democratic norms, international order and global solidarity. The war in Ukraine is further challenging international systems and is threatening to turn the world back to the cold war era. Our country has been facing challenges of governance and a desire for better lives since pre-independence. In 1968 when the country gained its independence, the independence euphoria was short-lived as in 1973, the independence Constitution was abrogated as it was deemed unworkable. This was during a period where many African governments were putting in place one party states, and multi-party democracy collapsed in many countries. Hence, even today the major question among some Africans is; is multi-party working for Africa?


In the context of Eswatini, the June/July civil unrest has redefined our country. This is because lives, properties and livelihoods were lost. Sadly, government has not done enough to address the anger, frustration and hopelessness that define our environment. Worsening the levels of frustration and loss of hope is that there is no effort to conduct an open and transparent investigation into the June/July civil unrest events. Hence, we lost a valuable opportunity to learn what were the causative factors, what were institutional responses and if post management of the events was effective. It seems like there is hope that time heals and that emaSwati will somehow forget and forgive each other. I am sorry to say this is not true. The deepening hate, especially for those in leadership, has reached unprecedented levels. Further worsening the situation is that government has been unleashing security forces and the right to protest has been eroded, further worsening frustrations among emaSwati especially the youth.

This frustration is manifesting itself in many ways that affect the rule of law. Violence perpetrated against non-violent citizens is because once a mass movement arises and unsettles the status quo, most regimes confront unarmed protesters with brute force. I would like to express my profound appreciation to leaders, individuals and organisations who have continued to be against the security sector’s brutality, to protest against the social injustice in the country; special appreciation for those who have continued to support the incarcerated Members of Parliament. Eswatini is supposed to be a constitutional State, with a Bill of Rights, which gives rights to citizens. Yet the reality is that the enjoyment of human rights in this country remains a challenge. Unfortunately, the struggle for change is not a once off event, but it is a continuous process as conditions for the poor and vulnerable continue to face hardships which erode their dignity.

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