Four supporters of the Communist Party of Swaziland (CPS) have been arrested and charged following an alleged arson attack on rondavels in a-Ngcamphalala Chiefdom in Siphofaneni under the leadership of Chief Mshikashika II.
The Party said in a statement they were arrested during a continuing campaign against the ‘feudal’ rule of King Mswati III, who is sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch.
The CPS said, ‘CPS activists are playing a prominent role in mobilizing communities to stop feudal leaders from barring boys from schooling and attending university because of their non-attendance at the King’s annual ritualistic events.
‘Such protests have cantered in amongst other many communities, on Siphofaneni, Ka-Ngcamphalala Chiefdom as well as on Siyandle, in Shiselweni Region. Community members held a meeting at Siphofaneni to tell the chief that the abuse of people in the name of culture must end.’
It added, ‘The Communist Party of Swaziland is calling for robust solidarity with the local communities under feudal rule in our country who have been protesting efforts to punish young boys for not taking part in King Mswati’s “traditional” ceremonies.’
The statement added, ‘The CPS is confronting the Mswati regime on its manipulation of traditional cultural practices for dubious purposes, mainly to intimidate Swazis into reverence for the monarchy.’
The CPS said it had been leafleting rural areas, ‘to mobilise opposition to royal rule and its obsequious implementation by local chiefs. This is being done in a tense situation of surveillance and intimidation by undercover police and military intelligence.’
The four men arrested will appear at Siteki Magistrate court on charges of arson.