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eSwatini Protests

Transporters warned against violent eSwatini protests

Feature by Eugene Goddard - Freight News

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Transporters operating in eSwatini have been advised to proceed with caution, especially in the Manzini area, where youth rising up against the monarchy has resulted in burning barricades and stone-throwing, violently disrupting vital supply-chain traffic in the area.

The violence started over the weekend when around 500 youths gathered in the area to demand the right to elect their own prime minister, a democratic constitutional privilege forbidden in the kingdom of Mswati III since 2005.

In addition to a long-standing ban against rival political parties participating in eSwatini’s electoral process, the absolute power that the monarch wields over the country regularly results in violent suppression of any resistance to his dictatorial rule.

Noma Matsebula, one of the protesters, told Agence France-Presse: “As youth we no longer want the present system of governance.”

Mike Fitzmaurice, chief executive of the Federation of East and Southern African Road Transport Associations, warned that the protests were ongoing and had become more violent.

He advised cross-border hauliers to forewarn their drivers accordingly.

“Be vigilant when operating in CBS as we have received videos of high levels of violence in the area.”

* Since this story was posted it has been reported that South Africa's Oshoek Border Post into eSwatini has been closed. It has also been reported that King Mswati III has fled his country and is hiding out in Johannesburg. The latter has been refuted by government officials in Mbabane although protesters insist that the monarch has crossed the border to safety.

** Just before 1pm today Lucky Lukhele, spokesperson for the Swaliland Solidarity Network, told 702 that transporters are not allowed entry into eSwatini from sunset to sunrise as the situation is unsafe. He added that military personnel last night cleared the road for King Mswati III to get to the airport from where he fled to Johannesburg. Lukhele added that members of the king's family had earlier flied out on a plane destined for Johannesburg. While the military was clearing the road towards the airport a protestor who got in the way of the king's safe evacuation, was shot dead.

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