Southern Africa: Namibian President Geingob Worried By Escalation of Tensions in eSwatini

PRESIDENT Hage Geingob yesterday expressed concern about the escalation of tensions in Eswatini, and reiterated his call for authorities in the kingdom to investigate the death of human rights and political activists Thulani Rudolf Maseko.

Maseko, who was assassinated at his home in Mbabane a week ago, was the chairperson of the Multi-Stakeholder Forum.

The forum was established as a coalition of non-state actors to advocate for a process of national political dialogue to resolve the security and political challenges confronting Eswatini.

Speaking at the opening of the SADC Extraordinary Organ Troika Summit in Windhoek this week, Geingob said the assassination put a stain on regional efforts to resolve conflicts and political issues.

“Our regional commitment has always been to address inter and intra-state conflicts by peaceful means. In this spirit, these initiatives were aimed at obtaining a clearer understanding of the causes and impact of the civil unrest, and to consult key stakeholders on possible solutions to the prevailing challenges.

“Regrettably, and while the region is focused on assisting our sister country to find and implement peaceful solutions to these challenges, there have been ongoing and sporadic acts of violence in the Kingdom of Eswatini that point to an escalation of the tensions.

“On that note, several days ago, we received the sad news that the people of Eswatini lost a prominent opposition political activist of the Multi-Stakeholder Forum, by the name of Thulani Rudolf Maseko, who was assassinated,” Geingob said.

Geingob, who is the chairperson of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation, has called for a “swift, transparent and comprehensive investigation” into Maseko’s murder.

“I have said that when diplomacy fails and people stop talking to each other, conflict begins. Therefore, dialogue is important as it will give the peace process an opportunity to become successful,” he said.

Geingob convened the meeting to discuss critical matters to find lasting solutions and create a platform for sustained peace, security and stability of the SADC region.

The summit also received and considered a progress report on the SADC mission in Mozambique and recommendations therefrom.

It further considered reports on the political and security situations in Eswatini, Lesotho, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The meeting was also attended by South African president Cyril Ramaphosa, and Zambian president Hakainde Hichilema.

Samuel Ntsokoane Matekane, the prime minister of Lesotho, and his Eswatini counterpart, Cleopas Sipho Dlamini, also attended the summit.

SADC executive secretary Elias Magosi noted that peace, security and political stability are the foundation for socio-economic development.

“It is for this reason that the region continues to pay particular focus on strengthening political cooperation, and enhancing democracy, good governance, the rule of law, human rights, and human security in line with the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Vision 2050,” Magosi said.

SADC has also strengthened its mediation, conflict prevention and preventive diplomacy structure to ensure long lasting solutions to SADC’s political and security challenges, Magosi said.

In this regard, he said the SADC Summit of August 2022 appointed new members of the Panel of Elders and Mediation Reference Group “with the mandate to foster political and security stability in the region through the prevention, management and resolution of significant inter-state and intra-state conflicts”.