The Southern Africa People’s Solidarity Network applauds your effort to urgently dispatch a Fact Finding Mission to the Kingdom of Eswatini.
However, the Fact Finding Mission cannot have been complete or credible without receiving evidence and testimony from a fair representation of concerned parties independent of Government Authorities. As you acknowledge in your Statement of 5 July 2021, it was not possible for the Fact Finding Mission to reach many of the stakeholders. Many such stakeholders, including amongst them, Activists, Opposition Parties, Trade Unions, Churches and other legitimate entities were indeed not afforded an opportunity to engage with the Troika. Some amongst these stakeholders are currently in hiding or have fled Eswatini for fear of persecution or victimisation.
We acknowledge your welcome assurance that a second Mission will be dispatched urgently to Eswatini to continue the consultation process with other stakeholders. However, we ask for the expansion of the second Fact Finding Mission’s mandate to include investigating and collecting testimonies particularly to shed light on serious allegations of arbitrary force and indiscriminate killings of innocent civilians as well as systematic harassment of Activists and Human Rights Defenders by the security forces. This, reinvigorated Fact-Finding Mission must especially insist on gaining access to all parts of the country including places of detention, hospitals and other places of possible interest. Furthermore, we humbly suggest that the Troika’s Fact-Finding Mission must create credible and accessible virtual platforms for citizens including women and youth to freely contribute evidence and testimony.
SADC’s leadership and stated commitment to foster a dialogue process to resolve the ongoing crisis in Eswatini is widely commended. Within the scope of SADC-led deepened mediation, we continue to urge SADC to press for genuine and lasting constitutional and democratic reforms and to put in place credible measures to ensure Eswatini’s compliance with SADC’s own regional norms and standards of democratic governance.
Your Excellency, the SAPSN leadership remains in anticipation of an opportunity to share with your estimable office our concerns and people-centred ideas to address the ongoing situation in Eswatini.
Dr. Stergomena Lawrence Tax, Executive Secretary, SADC
Dr. Kondwani Chirambo, Acting Director, Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Affairs