Times of Eswatini
Govt values EU’s friendly advise
MANZINI - Government says it values every aspect of EU’s friendly advice. This is according to Government Spokesperson Alpheous Nxumalo, who said as an administration; they had learnt from news sources that there was a resolution taken by the European Parliament ( EP) about the Kingdom of Eswatini. He said while a formal correspondence on the content and context of the resolution was yet to reach government, they find it necessary to highlight that the EU was generally a highly valued strategic partner and a friend to the Kingdom of Eswatini.
“The EU as a bloc has fallen and risen with the Kingdom of Eswatini on many strategic and developmental aspects. Therefore, government values every aspect of its friendly advice,” Nxumalo said.
However, he said government wants emaSwati to note that this ( resolution) was neither a binding nor compelling resolution. Also, he said the resolution was canvassed by independent members of the European Parliament, not by the incumbent or sitting government parties from the European bloc. Thereafter, the government spokesperson reiterated that Eswatini was a peace- loving country and a defender of human rights; including the rights of those who do not share the same political perspective with the majority of the population. He said government continues to strongly condemn the brutal and barbaric killings which occurred across the country
“Government rejects the unsubstantiated claims of its involvement in some of these killings and heinous crimes,” Nxumalo said.
He said government’s position had been consistently that of protecting and assuring safety and justice to all emaSwati. Aligned to this commitment, he said government, through the office of the Prime Minister, had released a number of statements stating that the country had already commissioned investigations on all killings in the country, including that of Human Rights Lawyer Thulani Maseko. He said government had further revealed that some of the perpetrators had already been apprehended in connection with some of the killings.
Regarding the national dialogue, he said government had stated categorically clear that it had always been ready to commence same. However, he said government maintains that this could only be possible when the safety and protection of all emaSwati was guaranteed.
Furthermore, he said emaSwati had the right to freedom of expression as enshrined in Section 25( 1) and ( 2) of the Constitution. He said there were relevant existing structures at all levels of government mandated to sanction/ enforce these clauses of the Constitution. He added that freedom of association, by the same Constitution, was upheld at all levels of government.
In addition, he said Eswatini as a member of the regional body, SADC, continued to engage with the SADC Troika in order to find the most suitable and appropriate modality for the dialogue, while avoiding going against the sovereignty and the Constitution of the kingdom.
Moreover, he said government was looking for modest ways to engage all multilateral organisations going to the future in an endeavour to clarify and explain their positions.
It is worth noting that last Wednesday, the EP of 2019- 2024 had a plenary sitting, after which they issued a statement on its resolution on the situation of human rights defenders in Eswatini, notably the murder of Human Rights Lawyer Thulani Maseko, who was the Chairperson of the Multi- Stakeholder Forum ( MSF).
The EP condemned the killing of Maseko and further called for a prompt, independent, impartial, transparent and thorough investigation, under the auspices of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the United Nations ( UN), into the attacks against other pro- democracy and human rights activists and the alleged recruitment of mercenaries to help security forces repress opposition.
It also condemns the widespread human rights violations in Eswatini and called for the immediate release of all political prisoners, particularly Ngwempisi Member of Parliament ( MP) Mthandeni Dube and Hosea MP Mduduzi Bacede Mabuza. It also called for an immediate end to the harassment, violence and pressure exercised against human rights defenders, trade unionists, pro- democracy activists and politicians.