On 25 July 2021, Members of Eswatini Parliament Mduduzi Bacede Mabuza and Mthandeni Dube were detained amid a wave of pro-democracy protests. They have been in arbitrary detention ever since. Take action now and demand the immediate release of the MPs.
The two MPs stand accused of contravening: section 5(1) of the 2008 Suppression of Terrorism Act; section 4(b) of the Sedition and Subversive Activities Act of 1938; trumped-up murder charges; and regulation 4 of the Disaster management regulations under the Disaster Management Act 01/2006.
Since their arrest in July, peaceful protests and demonstrations by a range of stakeholders have emerged nationwide calling for their unconditional release. On 1 October, the largest demonstration took place where over 10,000 EmaSwati marched to the US Embassy to deliver a petition appealing to the US for support in advocating for the MPs’ release and questioning the independence of the judiciary in affording the MPs a fair trial.
According to witness reports, protestors were violently dispersed by the authorities, with security agents using live ammunition, rubber bullets, and tear gas. The army was also deployed with soldiers seen setting up roadblocks to stop people from joining the protests. A protestor was left in critical condition in hospital after being shot in the head by Eswatini security forces.
Throughout October 2021, pro-democracy protests and anti-police violence marches continued across the country. Nhlanhla Kunene was allegedly killed by security forces in Siteki on 8 October. This again sparked another wave of nationwide protests calling for the end to police brutality, and the release of peaceful protesters, including the two MPs’.
More than 1000 people have been arrested since the protests broke out in June, including children in primary and secondary school, who have since joined the movement calling for political reforms. In some instances, security forces have also assaulted school children who participated in the protests. As protests continue to intensify, the authorities have deployed security forces to crush dissent, closed schools indefinitely, and instructed mobile telephone network companies to shut down the internet and social media platforms.
Join the people of Eswatini in demanding the immediate release of Mduduzi Bacede Mabuza and Mthandeni Dube and that all charges against them be dropped.