King Mswati III is contradicting eSwatini government’s stance on public gatherings by calling people to Sibaya, Swaziland Solidarity Network (SSN) said on Wednesday.
"The current unrest in the kingdom escalated very quickly following the government’s stance to ban all protests and delivery of petitions," spokesperson Bongani Lukhele said in a statement.
“The reason given for this ban was that the country is currently within the midst of the third wave of Covid-19 infections. The same excuse was used to delay the SADC troika investigations into the social unrest," Lukhele said.
He said the mass democratic movement would not be participating in that national gathering. Instead they have organised a protest in Manzini.
eSwatini’s Covid-19 rules, prohibits large gathering, capping a maximum of 50 people at public gatherings for a limited time.
The Swaziland Youth Congress said it would also boycott the king's meeting.
"Not only are we going to boycott it, but we will make sure that those who are tempted to betray our over 60 fallen heroes are assisted physically to shy away from betrayal.
“Nobody has a democratic right to betray a grieving nation. If we see any truck, bus, kombi or private car carrying Swazis to be slaughtered in Mswati's abattoir we must physically intervene and save Swazi lives," it said in a statement posted on its social media platforms.
According to newspaper Times of Swaziland, it was not yet clear whether the king would address the nation or if the floor would be open for people to express their views as it happened in 2018.
The newspaper further reported that it was also speculated that a new prime minister would be named as Themba Masuku was acting on the position.
In a notice to the meeting, eSwatini government said King Mswati III has called Sibaya to be held on Friday, at Ludzidzini Royal Residence from 10am.
"As per the Kingdom of eSwatini's Constitution, the people, through Sibaya, constitute the highest policy and advisory council (Libandla) of the nation," read the notice.
The king’s meeting and the anticipated protest in Manzi coincided with the arrival of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) technical team on a fact finding mission in eSwatini.
The chairperson of the SADC Organ Troika on Politics, Defence and Security, Botswana President Mogkweetsi Masisi said the technical team would be in eSwatini to consult extensively with stakeholders, from July 15 to 22.
"The Mission will analyse the political and security situation in the country, with a view to support the people of eSwatini towards finding a durable solution," Masisi said in a statement.
African News Agency (ANA)