About Eswatini

Eswatini (Swaziland) is a country of 1.1 million people and has about 60% of the people living below the poverty line. The country has been ruled as an absolute monarch since 1973 when King Sobhuza II repealed the 1968 Independence Constitution. Political parties are banned in the country, although these groups have been advocating for democracy since then. The pro-democracy Members of Parliament, notably; Mthandeni Dube, Bacede Mabuza and Mduduzi Simelane, joined calls for an elected Prime Minister and their calls intensified in late 2020. The rise of police brutality, a failed justice system that harbors perpetrators of Gender Based Violence, murderers and others being above the law has contributed to the rise in protests and dissatisfaction with the current state of affairs in Eswatini. Pro-democracy forces have come together to form a five point plan that summarizes the demands of emaSwati.


Tinkhundla (singular is Inkhundla) is a system of governance currently in place in Eswatini – also referred to as constituencies. The country has about 59 tinkhundla centers that are meant to decentralize governance. Tinkhundla centers are meant to be traditional meeting places for communities to discuss social, economic and political issues affecting them, and allows grassroot participation of citizens, especially in rural areas, where a majority of Swazis reside. The system started being fervently used after World II when King Sobhuza II was the paramount chief and would use Tinkhundla as meeting places and these were designated to focus development of the economy in as many areas of the country as possible, especially with the growth of development programmes post 1945. This is also where secondary elections for Members of Parliament (MPs) take place. Primary elections take place in imphakatsi (chiefdoms), where several clusters of these form an Inkhundla. Citations: Manyatsi, Absolom, and Saico S. Singwane. "Land governance in eSwatini." NUST-NELGA Land Symposium. 2019. Levin, Richard. "Swaziland's Tinkhundla and the myth of Swazi tradition." Journal of Contemporary African Studies 10.2 (1991): 1-23. See: Eswatini Government , Article 1, Article 2.


The Kingdom of Eswatini (Swaziland) has been rocked by protests which have been met with state force brutality since May 2021. Protests were sparked by a number of injustices, notably the death of a law student, Thabani Nkomonye, who was allegedly murdered by Eswatini Police. Petition deliveries were banned by Acting Prime Minister Themba Masuku in June, which led to increased protests. On June 26, the government cracked down on protestors and shut down the internet, security forces used live rounds on unarmed civilians leading to the death of more than 100 people and over 500 people injured. Pro-democracy Members of Parliament, Bacede Mabuza and Mthandeni Dube, have been jailed and found guilty on charges of terrorism since July and Member of Parliament Mduduzi “Magawugawu” Simelane has been in exile since then. Protests have continued and the month of October has seen more crackdown from security forces of Eswatini. Protests have increased to as much as over 10 000 people attending marches (March to US embassy) and the internet was shut down again on the week of 20 October. The government has banned municipalities from allowing them to issue protest permits. More people have been killed, estimated to be about 30 or more, over 200 injured and over 800 people in prisons, including children. King Mswati III has responded to these events by labeling pro-democracy seekers as being on drugs and being a minority of the 1.1 million residents of Eswatini and that it is led by the young, yet Eswatini consists of 70% youth. In 2022, there has been increased crackdown on civilians, burning of properties of both democratic leaders and security forces. Multiple security officers have been shot, civilians continue to be shot merely for moving around the country, the army is deployed all over Eswatini. The Southern African Development Missions (SADC) Troika envoy has been sent to the country multiple times with no results of engagements being made public. The people of Eswatini are being killed for demanding a pro democratic dispensation and demanding a fair justice system. Swazis still await dialogue as agreed to by SADC Troika and Eswatini's government in November 2021. The King promised citizens on dialogue after the first quater of this year, yet as of November 2022, Swazis still await dialogue and the crackdown on innocent civilians intensifies. As of 2023, leading human rights lawyer and leader of MultiStakeholder Forum Thulani maseko was assassinated and multiple activists and unarmed civilians are being shot on the streets for no reason.

Five-Point Plan

  1. Inclusive mediated political dialogue overseen by the international community.
  2. Unconditional unbanning of political parties.
  3. Transitional executive government to pave way for democratic reforms.
  4. New democratic constitution, laying the foundation for an inclusive, just and representative governance structure.
  5. Introduction of a multi-party democratic dispensation.


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