Tuesday, October 15, 2013


Swaziland’s Police National Commissioner Isaac Magagula has warned residents they will not be allowed to stage a protest march to one of King Mswati’s many palaces.

Residents of KoNtshingila in the Shiselweni region have a long-running grievance against the king and traditional authorities because they have not had a substantive chief in their area for 27 years.

Chief Gelane Zwane, who was Senate President until parliament was dissolved in September, has been acting chief for that time, according to local media.

Protests against Zwane have been ongoing for many weeks and police have attacked protesters with teargas and gunshots to stop them from venting their dissatisfaction.

Residents want Zwane to step down and a substantive chief appointed in her place.

Last month (September 2013), Zwane obtained a High Court order to stop residents ‘harassing’ her.
Eight of the residents have been charged with sedition for engaging in unlawful protests and demonstrations.

Residents of KoNtshingila met on Saturday (12 October 2013) and decided to march to Ludzidzini Royal Residence to stage a sit-in, should their grievances not be resolved.

At a media conference, Police Chief Magagula called the residents ‘a mob’ and said police would not allow the march to go ahead. He said ‘traditional protocols’ had not been followed.

In Swaziland, King Mswati III rules as sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch. He appoints chiefs to act on his behalf within their own chiefdoms. Residents often referred to as ‘subjects’ are expected to obey without question the instructions of the chiefs.

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