EFF, pro-democracy groups block Eswatini border posts, calling for democratic reform

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The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and pro-democracy groupings in Eswatini have been protesting at the border posts between South Africa and Eswatini.

The Mananga, Jeeps Reef and Oshoek ports of entry were blockaded, disrupting traffic flow as residents of Eswatini protested, calling for political and democratic reform.

EFF Swaziland, Pudemo and Swalino claim their call for democratic and political reform has led to the brutality that continues unabated.

Swalimo Member Sihle Ndwandwe says, “The masses are shying away. We are beaten every day, we have to hide our regalia. Since yesterday they blocked the roads. They were roadblocks everywhere…”

The protesters want to do away with the monarchy, as King Mswati the Third celebrates his 54th birthday… The EFF says his birthday shouldn’t be celebrated.

EFF National spokesperson Sinawo Tambo says, “We are calling for the fall of Mswati who has subjected his people to a lack of democracy and political parties and imprisoned those who wish to question his government that is characterised by corruption while he lives in luxury and people live in poverty. We know it is his birthday but we won’t celebrate his birthday as he continues to kill people and deny them of their rights and freedoms.”

Eswatini is Africa’s last absolute monarchy, King Mswati the Third has been at the helm since 1986. The country banned political parties in 1973, this proclamation made by King Sobhuza has never been repealed. However the country’s constitution does guarantee freedom of association, and political parties do register on this basis.

Pudemo president Mlungisi Makhanya says, “If we make sure we suffocate him and make sure nothing gets in and out of Swaziland. Then we are blocking him from living a lavish lifestyle and buying guns to kill our people.”

The protesters tried to forcefully enter Eswatini but were blocked by the country’s customs officials.

Attempts to get comments from the Eswatini government were unsuccessful.