MBABANE – A multi-stakeholder team comprising political parties and civil society actors have written to the Acting Prime Minister, Themba Masuku, proposing a meeting to discuss the possibilities of a dialogue.
The multi-stakeholder team, which has about 20 representatives, has stated that the dialogue or negotiation was meant to map a way forward to take the country out of the political quagmire that has resulted in the ongoing turmoil. The letter was written by human rights lawyers and one of the founding members of the Institute for Democracy and Leadership (IDEAL) Thulani Maseko, who is chairperson of the Multi-Stakeholders Co-ordinating Team. “Greetings your Excellency in these hard times of political turmoil in our country. We have been requested by the vast number of political parties and civil society actors to reach out to you and to propose a meeting,” reads the letter.
It was stated that the purpose of the meeting was to discuss the possibilities of a dialogue for a stable democratic dispensation. The acting PM was informed that leaders of political parties and civil society have found it fit, necessary and proper that they write to him understanding that the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) Troika had dispatched three ministers on a fact-finding mission on the volatile situation engulfing the nation. “While the SADC may mediate the process and of course the mediation is welcome, we should not lose sight of the fact that fundamentally, the governance problems that the country faces can and should be resolved by the Swazis (emaSwati) themselves for sustainable peace,” wrote Maseko. He stated that the international community, including SADC, would only assist in ensuring that the people of Eswatini peacefully resolved their issues.
They further asked Masuku to respond to their request at the soonest opportunity. He said it was in the best interests of the country that they all committed to a genuine process of dialogue and negotiation to find a lasting solution to the political and governance crisis facing the country at this moment. “We appeal for an urgent response, sir, recognising that many lives have been lost in the ongoing turmoil. Many have been injured and continue to be injured at the hands of the security forces, in particular the defence forces that have been dispatched into the streets of the country and other areas,” reads the letter. Maseko further said the country needed a political as opposed to a military solution. When asked if the acting PM had received the letter, Government Spokesperson Sabelo Dlamini confirmed that the acting PM received the letter of invitation. This was at around 5:40pm on Tuesday.
IDEAL further forwarded a similar letter to Troika with five issues which included an all inclusive and mediated political dialogue led by SADC and underwritten by the African Union (AU), the Commonwealth, the United Nations (UN) and or other such body of similar stature as may be agreed by the parties. “All parties to this political dialogue process should come to the table as equals, with no one party enjoying superior legal status,” reads the communication.