Eswatini Deploys Soldiers to Stop Protesting Students

The last absolute monarchy in Africa, Eswatini has deployed the military and Police to quell a growing students’ protest in the country.

Students have taken to the streets in Mbabane and other major cities in the country to protest against the current system of governance and practices of the current ruler. 

The protests have also involved primary and high school students from forty schools, who have been boycotting classes and exams since the last month to join low-key protests.

Protesting students are also calling for the release of two Members of Parliaments who have been held by the government after leading a protest earlier in the year. 

According to the AFP, seventeen students including a 7-year old boy were arrested during Monday protests as soldiers were deployed to intimidate the fearless students. The Communist Party of Swaziland has said a student was shot in the leg with not less than ten students held so far. 

The Eswatini Army Spokesperson, Tengetile Khumalo also confirmed the presence of their men on the streets but added that they are not an enemy of the people.

 “It doesn’t mean there is war but just an assistance to the other forces to maintain order”, she said.

In protests in June by Civil Societies and opposition groups in capitals Mbabane and Manzini, shops were looted and goods were ransacked, and reports said some of the properties affected belonged to the monarch, King Mswati III. Not less than 27 died in those protests, tagged the worst in the history of the Southern African monarchy. 

King Mswati III was enthroned in 1986, at the age of 18, and was the youngest monarch in the world at the time of his enthronement. Many countries have since changed their system of governance with Eswatini, formerly known as Swaziland standing as the last absolute monarchy in the world. The 53-year old monarch has been described as an authoritarian and there have been protests about stalled progress in the country. 

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