Fuel Scarcity Hits Eswatini after Weeks of Violent Protests

The protests had begun after the mysterious death of 25-year-old law student, Thabani Nkomonye, allegedly at the hands of the police.

The Kingdom of Eswatini is facing an acute shortage of fuel following a series of violent protests that began three weeks ago in the kingdom.

Citizens of Eswatini, one of the world’s absolute monarchies, have taken to the streets since May to demand democratic reforms from King Mswati III who has been in power since 1986.
These protests begun after the mysterious death of 25-year-old law student, Thabani Nkomonye, allegedly at the hands of the police.

Protesters, led by young activists who are angered by widespread impoverished living while the king spends millions on private jets and luxury cars, are demanding reforms in a country where political activism has been suppressed for years.

The demonstrations are, however, taking a toll on the citizenry who have raised concerns over the shortage of petroleum products.

Eswatini former lawmaker, Senator Walter Bennet, suggested the ongoing unrest in South Africa has worsened the situation. He claimed recent events in South Africa are directly affecting Eswatini in terms of economic development.

“I would want to clearly sympathise with the business community and the citizen of our neighbouring republic and hope these issues are resolved to everybody’s satisfaction. In my country, we have queues for fuel and we have just heard that in South Africa one of the refineries has now been called up and possibly closed.”

No fewer than 30 people have died in the protests.

Meanwhile, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) is sending a follow-up fact-finding team to Eswatini to engage all stakeholders.

After the first mission earlier this month, the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security was criticized for engaging only the government and the Royal Family but failing to meet with pro-democracy leaders and politicians.

The second mission, holding in Eswatini between July 15 and 22, has been tasked with analysing the political and security situation of the country with a view to reaching a durable solution.

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