A Nation in Turmoil... Manzini

A Nation in Turmoil...

No one had ever thought that our country, Eswatini (formerly, Swaziland), would ever experience the recent, unprecedented turmoil of last year, June/July, which culminated in scores of death of our people, allegedly at the hands of security agencies, most notably, the army. The chaos also resulted in serious injuries to some protesters, burning of, and vandalism, as well as looting of property belonging to businesses.

The superficial atmosphere of “peace” we had become to be globally known for as kingdom, had all these past decades, hidden a simmering cauldron of anger, dissatisfaction, and mounting disillusionment at the manner our government had ruled her citizens for many decades.

At the core of many of our problems, had been immoral acts like corruption, subtle oppression of the people by the leadership, blatant violation of numerous, fundamental human rights, e.g., freedom of expression, and assembly, police brutality, nepotism, a skewed distribution of the country's economy, and many other ills.

In spite of a growing call by the populace for our leadership to be accountable to the people, this had been largely ignored. Gross wastage of taxpayers money had seen our government embarking on numerous projects which ended up being white elephants, bringing no tangible benefits to the people.

Flaunting of wealth by some members of royalty, and those privileged to be connected to the royal institution, had been another issue invoking the ire of the people. This had been taking place for as long as one could remember. Because of the inherent fear of criticizing immoral acts commítted by this institution in fear of reprisals, many had come to accept this, albeit, reluctantly.

Behind the facade of “peace” from the general populace, there had been an increasing, and mounting, clarion call for change - any change that would result in the people's lives taking a turn for the better. Sadly, such hopes were continually dashed, most notably with the perennial excuse ‘“song” sung by our authorities that “government is broke” being relentlessly sung, rendering it a scratched song.

The gap between the poor, and the rich continues to widen, alarmingly. Many of our people wallow in a cesspool of poverty, living on less than $2 per day. Cost of basic, crucial commodities like food, electricity, escalate every year, in spite of cries from the masses for s respite.

Shortage of drugs in government-owned hospitals, has grossly affected the health of many patients, most notably, the elderly, who are living from hand to mouth. Patients are prescribed non available meds, which they have to purchase in expensive pharmacies.

Peace, prosperity, and many other aspirations of the people remain elusive, and as slippery as an eel. The pious nature of the Swazi people - something the authorities had always insidiously taken advantage of, over the years - render the people comatose, unable to realize even basic prosperity in their lives, and fearing to openly criticize authority, because such could land one behind bars.

Talking about fear… The ruling, status quo had been experts at using fear as a tool to whip into submission any dissenting voices, for a very long time, now. It is one of the most potent weapons the system of governance had mastered to perfection over the years. Any dissenting voices are often brutally crushed by branches of the security agencies, like the paramilitary police, who had more often than not, been unleashed on protesters toyi-toying over labour related issues, or demanding legitimate political changes. The results had often been horrific….The only language our leadership understand is brutality.

As media, we had persistently warned our authorities about failure to take into consideration the wishes of the people, as well as potential consequences of doing so, but in vain. We are the people on the ground, and know about many of the aggrieved sentiments of the people. This has caused a simmering cauldron of anger, and dissatisfaction in a majority of the populace. People want a better life for themselves, and their offspring. They pay taxes, and want value for their hard-earned money.

The disgruntlement has now reached boiling point, erupted, and exploded into what the country is currently going through. A point of not return has now been reached. The Rubicon of tolerance has been crossed… The people have had enough.

It all began with the death of one, Mr. Thabani Nkomeni, a law student who studied in one of the country's universities. He died a tragic and mysterious death, allegedly at the hands of the police. Our police force had always been infamous for acts of brutality against citizens of the country for many years. In spite of calls for the government to address this, it had continued to take place, unabated, to this day. It's been a ticking time bomb, bound to explode one day, blowing everyone, and everything to smithereens.

The youth demonstrated in the streets, demanding justice for the late Thabani. The death of their colleague became a rallying point… calls for sweeping, political and socioeconomic changes. This culminated in the delivery of petitions in various tinkhundla constituencies, imploring the government to address a lot of contentious issues. The petition deliveries were conducted peacefully, with security forces refraining from using force to disperse gatherings. Such tolerant attitude would, sadly, not last.long, though.

Chaos erupted after the then Acting Prime Minister, Themba Masuku - a leader many loved to hate because of his haughty attitude - decreed a stop to the delivery of petitions in all remaining Tinkhundla centres. All hell broke loose…

Chaotic situations ensued. One of the three Members of Parliament (MPs) (dubbed, Change MPs) who led the call for an elected Prime Minister, as opposed to an appointed one, was stopped by uncompromising police officers from going to receive a petition by the youth in his constituency. He was blatantly told in the face by uncompromising cops that his right to freedom of movement was being denied. Such act was a gross violation of the Constitution. Local cops are infamous for not respecting the country's Constitution, and are on record as having utterd such words violating the constitutional rights of the people.

What was the main catalyst to this, which basically pulled the trigger on such unprecedented, chaotic situations? Unemployment, nepotism, lack of scholarships, and lack of political will in addressing these, and other issues, had not gone down very well with a majority of the people, especially the youth. Coupled with many other negative acts like, poor service delivery in many sectors by a nonchalant government, a chaotic, collision course was in the making..It was only a matter of time before the fuse was lit, and things went out of control.

Social ills like the healthcare sector had been hard-hit for many years, with a perennial non-availment of optimum health services to the people. It was pitifully, lacking. A shortage of crucial drugs in government owned hospitals had been going on for years. Brutal treatment of patients, and other ill treatment of patients by medical staff personnel in some government-owned hospitals had been incessantly reported by the media, with little or no action taken.

It is imperative here that I mention that two key sectors - health and education - had relentlessly failed to attract a reasonable, yearly Budget allocation from the government. The lion's share of the Budget, had persistently been allocated to none-crucial, ministries like the Ministry of Defence. The school of thought coming from many people had been that the country was not a war; why then allocate such huge chunks of the budget to an army that was idling, with no wars to fight?

Three progressive Members of Parliament who kick-started a serious campaign for change, were joined by other political formations, who had for years, called for democratic changes. Prominent political formations like the People's United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO) were proscribed, “terrorists”. Cadres affiliated to these formations, had been harrassed, brutalized, with some incarcerated, and a few dying suspicious deaths, whilst in custody.

As the protests grew in momentum, the brutality of the security agencies, grew.. Deranged security agencies members, most notably the army, in their quest to stop the protests, began using live ammunition on protesters.. Young people brutally lost their lives. Those who survived the systematic shooting of protesters, ended up with some limbs amputated. Reports about children, some as young as 9 to 16 years, surfaced that they had been shot dead in coldblood.

What was going on, the people asked? Who had given the order to kill? Speculations were rife…Was it the king, as Commander-in-Chief of the army?

As I write this article, a pervading atmosphere of fear engulfs the country. One even fears stepping outside the four walls of his, or her place of abode. People live in fear of our cops, and the army. We cannot live like this… Something has to give. Hatred for our leadership has reached alarming levels. Social media platforms, the ordinary man on the street are up in arms, and condemning our leadership. The buzzword is, “We want change…now!”

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) had been roped in to try and bring sanity to prevail in a nation torn apart by violence and hatred.

My take? Our leadership has to stop being stubborn. They need to sit down and negotiate with the people in order for lasting peace to be achieved. Change cannot be prevented. No immovable force of whatever strength can prevent change. It is about time our leaders listened to the people. Winds of change cannot be prevented by use of brutality, guns, and rubber bullets…Shalom!

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Other News Alex Lucky Nxumalo

War is evil..

I wake up this morning thinking deeply about war..I ask myself what drives men like Putin to take a civilized world back to the days of medieval times, where barbarians like the Visigoths, the Vandals ransacked cities like Rome, during ancient times.

War is devastating. It has so many serious side effects - hunger, disease, is devastating, and very stressful.. Above all, it brings hatred to the invaded, that will last for generations. Putin is taking us back to barbaric times.

I'm glad the world is in solidarity, condemning, and taking action against Russia. It is sanctions, left, right and centre.

Coming closer home in Swaziland, there are deranged people who want to take us down to barbaric times, where disputes were solved through throttling each other. We are on the road to war, unless some people use their brains instead of thinking violence solved political conflict.

War is deadly. It creates refugees. I don't want my children to live as refugees in neighboring countries, because one clique refuses to embrace change, and the will of the masses.

Let's pray and resist this evil perpetrated by Putin and leaders in autocratic regimes like Swaziland and Zimbabwe..

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Leaders are mandated to lead with intergrity.

Abuse of power has led to conflicts which have divided a nation's people..Human greed has brought enmity and hatred between leaders and the grassroot people in my country. Violence now reigns supreme.

Our people have crossed the Rubicon of tolerance. Corruption has divided our people into two camps. Only wholesale changes in leadership and the ushering of democratic changes can save my country from anarchy and civil war.

Swaziland, my country, beg the world to pray for us!

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Every decent human being, living in this country has an obligation to denounce, and condemn Evil.

We all have to take action against evil and its accessories. Failure to contribute in whatever way in the quest by others to eradicate evil, and/or look the other way as evil men violate the rights of our fellowmen, is the greatest travesty of human decency.

In our midst, we have people who are as good as condoning evil by their failure to partake in the efforts of moral men who sacrificed their freedom in order to make our country a safe place to live in, free from the influences, clutches, and tentacles of a system of government headed by a warlord who believes he is God-ordained to lead a people, cause then to buckle under his cruel leadership.

None of us, was born with hatred in his heart - including the very leaders who use evil force to oppress, jail and kill those who stand up against their evil. We are now consumed by hatred. It is manifesting itself in many ways - anger, violence, intolerance, killing our partners in cold blood, etc. We have become an angry Nation..

Thinking deeply during moments of solitude, about the evil that is taking place in this country, tears my heart into shreds. Standing on the fence while ungodly men destroy whatever semblance of sanity left, is not moral.

Let us all stand up against evil. God will give us the power to triumph over evil...because He hates evil. Let us all join hands, contribute morally to the fight against evil...We are living dangerously in this country. None of us is safe from the evils of the system. If we allow evil to run rampant and have free reign, the Lord help us!

Good morning, a blessed Monday and safe week.

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Other News Manzini

Meet the 78 years old High school graduate Ted Sams...

It was a joyfull moment for Ted Sams (78) and his family when he finally walked on stage to receive his high school diploma sixty years after he missed his 1962 graduation because of some teenage mischief and $4.80 (E3.40) overdue library fine he owed at his former school.

During his high school days, Ted and a friend were in a photography class when they were caught by the vice principal for photographing people without their consent and Ted was later suspended, leading to him missing the final exam and graduation. While he tried keeping up with his studies by attending summer school, Ted then found that he couldn't get his diploma because of the overdue library fine book.

“So I just walked away from it and said, 'Forget it',” he says.

In 2022, after much persuasion from his family Ted joined San Gabriel California High school in Los Angeles and got his high school diploma

Sams says he never expected to be back in high school 60 years later after he dropped out. He recounted how he would repeatedly complain to his children how a meagre $4.80 kept him from having a degree.

His daughter Sherry then suprised him by asking San Gabriel High in Los Angeles for a reprint of his diploma so he can attend graduation.

Luckily for him, the school hasn't thrown away the diploma and It was kept in a box, in senior archives.

In 27 May, Ted received an invitation from the school to be part of the graduation ceremony. The ceremony was attended by his wife and five children.

Even though it has been a long hard road, Ted says attaining his diploma has been a great achievement for him and the graduation was one of the highlights of his life.

“Actually, when he walked and got his diploma, every person on that stage hugged him and then the whole class applauded for him,” Sherry says.

Although the $4.80 fine hasn't been paid, Ted is now a graduate of San Gabriel High School's class of 2022.

Source: News24

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MLAWULA CAMPFIRE LAUNCH: Let's Adopt a Green Lifestyle for Nature to Continue Sustaining Us- Minister

The Ministry of Tourism and Environmental affairs of Eswatini Moses Vilakati says in order for people to live sustainably and in peace with nature, they should adopt and promote a greener lifestyle.

Vilakati was speaking during the launch of the 3rd edition of the Mlawula Campfire festival on Thursday, while the real event is scheduled to take place from the 28th to 30th of October 2022 at Siphiso Campsite, which is located within the Mlawula nature reserve.

The Minister says as a ministry, it is of paramount importance to them that they monitor the conservation and sustainable use of natural resources. "The Ministry has a responsibility, amongst others to oveeseer conservation and sustainable use of natural resources, which is delegated to the Eswatini National Trust Commission" he said.

The launch tabbed, 'Only One Earth' occurred during the World Environmental Month and aims to promote activities that support the conservation and sustainable use of natural resources such as water, land and minerals which also tend not only to bolsters the people's lives but also attracts tourists in a country thus it's economy.

According to Vilakati, tourism is one of the pillars in the country's economic development agenda. He says the government had a wakeup call from the COVID-19 pandemic because it forced it to expand the country's domestic tourism initiatives througn enhanced product development while introducing different adventure promotions.

Vilakati further urged companies and institutions to partner with the government in hosting the event which he described as a perfect epitome of the 'Only One Earth' theme of the environmental month.

He went on saying, "This will provide an opportunity for most companies and institutions to partner with us in hosting a successful event. It is worth mentioning that the intended objectives of such an initiative can only be achieved with your participation and support, as well as inviting others from across the spectrum to enjoy the one of a kind experience. In this way, the tourism economy will increase and enable extended sharing of benefits."

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It's far from over... 2 critically wounded as Eswatini Warders trade fire with unknown men at Kwaluseni OK Foods

An unidentified boy was critically injured when a stray bullet meant hit him in the stomach during a gunfight between Warders and unknown men at Kwaluseni OK Foods on Friday, 18th February evening.

It is said the Warders were parked outside the food supermarket when the unknown men approached the vehicle and opened fire on them, which the Warders returned. The gunfight injured the boy and another man was also shot on the leg.

Eswatini is a tiny Kingdom marred by violence and riots as the people demand democratic reforms from the current government led by King Mswati lll

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Other News Eswatini

I have recently started a book about a young woman in Eswatini whose personal journey depicts the hardships faced by almost every woman in the country. Below is an excerpt...

EXILED: Losing Thabo

"Don't tell me you have never wanted to see justice done for all the injustices you have suffered! That you haven't wished for your baby's killer to be tried in a fair court of law, instead of roaming free as if he is innocent while we know he's not. That you haven't longed for retribution against your employees who fired you for your political views just because they don't align with theirs. This is our time sis', to right the wrongs done to us by this unjust system. It's time we fought for what is rightfully ours! We can't be governed by a bunch of individuals who priorities money over the people's welfare. Government officials who accept bribes and look the other way while someone is being killed. It's time we take back the power because it belongs to us. Time has run out for this cruel regime which silences us by using guns and brutality and if you do not join the fight now, who will fight for you when they do come for you, because they will?"

Tears trickled down Lindiwe's cheek as she listened to her brothers passionate please. She hung her head in defeat as the inevitability of the situation struck her, she could feel it in her bones that this was it. With her life stripped bare of all possibilities of a bright future she had no other option but to fight

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A month back, a colleague who later became a friend quoted a common phrase, but I could feel it resonating deep in my heart and leaving a cold chill slithering down my spine. He said, "Gender Based Violence is the face of a woman".

I remember trying to push it to the back of my mind but to this day my attempts are still in vain; for i still bear sleepless nights because of the nightmarish ordeals I have suffered in the hands of men (the lovers, friends, relatives). I don't think I will ever feel completely safe while in the presence of men. I don't think I could ever love nor trust so deeply because of men. Yes! You say there are not all monsters; but how are we as women suppose to differentiate cause the monsters start as promising lovers, brothers & relatives.

Honestly though, I despair that I was born in such a country where the marginalisation of women has been standardised such that even the women themselves have accepted it as a norm.

Eswatini, my country; women are much more than broodmares, cooks, victims of abuse. Our presence equals that of a thousand men. If you pay my bride price, that doesn't mean you own me. If I submit under you, that doesn't mean I am yours to do as you will... I am much more than just a woman; I am your future

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BAZIN , known professionally as 'BAZIN BS' is an Indian, artist, YouTuber Personality & Influencer based in KERALA ,(India). Born on 16 - April - 2004 . He was introduced to the music industry launch his first soundtrack which titled as ‘bazin, Released by SoundCloud first. After some days He release his music on different music platforms like Spotify, GoogleMusic, Apple Music, Amazon Music, Hungama, Gaana, Wynk, jaxtsta, beatport, JioSaavn and many others international platforms like Deezer, TikTok, Instagram or Facebook library also .

family His Father Mr. Baiju mk is a Busniess man and his Mother Simi baiju is a household lady. After the completion of his higher education, ‘Bazin’ enrolled in “Ghss kulathoor Kerala ” He is also works as on an Amazon Influencers he uses to promote companies through Instagram ‘bazin’ is also well known ‘Influencer’ personality on Instagram and Facebook and many more Social Media platform ! ‘Bazin’ said if you can think then you can do it as well doesn’t matter whether you thinking about to fly without wings or want to be a rich as Mammooty are. Without thinking you can’t accomplish your goals just thing about your goals then think again that how it could be possible then think again that when you are going to start that thing which will the path of your success. So just think and go for it doesn’t stop repeating again don’t stop

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Olabode Olajumoke @78 Celebrating Extraordinary Years of Positive Impacts ,Sterling National Standing

Raji Bomodeoku

In today's climate, leadership is examined from one of the tenets mostly denoted by the values that are appreciated within a culture as an influence that is capable of producing some valuable results that are considered from that cultural standpoint.

Indeed ,many have done far better as individuals and as members of their local and national communities. When the attendance of those who have made remarkable memories in our Nation is called. One name that will feature prominently is Olabode Olajumoke . Olajumoke's impact can be traced to his strides in the political, economic and humanitarian landscape of Nigeria.

Olajumoke has gone on to show that creating insight and taking action are winning combination for anyone coming from a humble background . Only a few people have done more impacts to others like they would to themselves. Olajumoke is a deeply good man from searchlight and one of the evidences that Nigeria was blessed with great Leaders.

Growing up as a young Man in the Precincts of Imeri in Ondo State . Olajumoke's mission from outset was how to serve his fatherland, inspiring many other similar thinkers to stimulate a national synergy for his people’s emancipation at the National front.

One of the inspiring accounts of Olajumoke’s groundbreaking success in community development was the founding of Imeri Unity Group, a socio political group with the intention of increasing the presence of his Yoruba speaking Imeri minority people at the frontline of National Politics . He was concerned that his people of Yoruba extraction should move from regional political theatre to national as the centre influences so many critical decisions in Nigeria. The focus of IUG therefore was to galvanise the Yoruba speaking people of the six Southwest states and the two states of Kogi and Kwara to play central politics.

This strategy was successful as the movement attracted followers of Governor Lateef Jakande and his deputy Rafiu Jafojo, Chief J.S Olawoyin of Offa, Chief Yomi Akintola and Chief Oluwole Awolowo both from the prominent families of late S.L.A. Akintola’s family of Ogbomoso and late Chief Obafemi Awolowo’s of Ikenne among other prominent Western flank leaders.

One of the most significant achievements of IUG was the unification of the two famous Yoruba families of Awolowo and Akintola. For almost 35 years - the rift that several Yoruba monarchs could not resolve at that time was settled. Indeed the only three instances that IUG monthly meetings were ever moved out of Imeri were when Chief Oluwole Awolowo hosted IUG meeting at Efunyela Hall, Ikenne and the following month in the Ogbomoso family home of late Chief SLA Akintola by his eldest son Chief Yomi Akintola. IUG also honoured late Chief J.S. Olawoyin by Senator Salawu of Offa hosting IUG in Offa after the Ogbomoso meeting.

Modern history will be kind with Olajumoke as his emergence to the elite group did not only open ways for a turnaround in public representation , he set some standard metrics for future seekers of public office, building a lasting legacy for his people of Ondo North and influencing a national landmark for people living with disabilities. Prior to being elected into the Nigerian Senate where he served as the Senate’s Committee Chairman on Navy. He is noted for sponsoring the disability bill which drew national consciousness to the need to make all public and private facilities accessible to people living with special needs as it is practiced in civilized world .

This remarkable bill had been tested and actualized some years earlier when Dr Bode Olajumoke was the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council of Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko. As the Pro-Chancellor, he converted the institution from a glorified secondary school into a modern University such that within two years of his being Chairman of Council, the school was adjudged the best state university in Nigeria by the Nigerian Universities Commission. Massive road networks sprawled the university landscapes, modern lecture theatres were constructed. He insisted that all the emerging structures - roads, buildings, lecture theatres were all disabled compliant. He did not limit this campaign to Adekunle Ajasin University. As a prominent member of the national conference of Pro-Chancellors, he persuaded his colleagues to adopt the policy of making their campuses disabled friendly. Some Pro-Chancellors visited his University to duplicate the concept. Such was his passion for the disabled and less privileged that at the earliest opportunity he had as a Senator, his major bill on disability in the one term he was privileged to serve was passed by the Senate into law. The Nigerian Navy honored him with a Navy Secondary School in his home town Imeri as a recognition for effective Senate Leadership.

He had served pre-eminently as a Federal Civil Servant and played notable roles in the return of democracy in 1999. His civil service years was condoned after twenty five years of meritorious service. Professionally , Olajumoke was inspired to read Law after covering the famous treasonable felony case of the FGN vs Dr Tunji Otegbeye as an intern-reporter with the Daily times of Nigeria in 1965. He got the Soviet Union Scholarship in 1965 to study law at the famous Friendship University , Moscow where he bagged LL.M in flying colours. He Later proceeded to the University of Edinburgh in the UK where he bagged a Doctorate Degree in the International Law Department of the Prestigious University. Olajumoke has been an advocate of true federalism tackling several extra-constitutional tendencies in teaching and through court prayers as a liberal exponent with complete believe in the principles of liberty, freedom of people and Nations.

Born on the 1st of July ,1944 , in Imeri ,Olajumoke’s growing up set the foundation for his exemplary journey and disciplined life as a member of the Boys Scout where he mastered the most important leadership lessons in developing young people to become self fulfilled as individuals and play constructive roles in the society using the scout method . He has throughout his scouting journey developed special interest in people living with special needs . At the 100th year celebration of the founding of Scouting in 2007 World Scout Jamboree at Essex, London. Olajumoke sponsored several Scouts from Schools of deaf and impaired hearing to the World events raising hope for the children to dream again . He has served on the Board of The Scout Association of Nigeria as its Deputy Board Chairman. He has strong passion for charity and his many years work has created some of the notable charity organizations that are restoring hopes for people with extreme conditions. Among these is the mission to save the helpless MITOSATH. - the first Chairman was late Prof. Olikoye Ransome-Kuti and was succeeded by Dr. Bode Olajumoke. Rtd General T.Y. Danjuma is the Grandpatron.

Dr Bode Olajumoke has been a member, Board of Trustees of PDP since year 2000. He is not a shifty politician and so has been very constant in his vision when he ran for the Nation’s Presidency under APP in 1999.

Long before Dr. Bode Olajumoke contested the Senate seat, he had sponsored many budding politicians for elective and executive offices. In year 2007, he eventually ran for the Senatorial seat of his Ondo North and won one of the largest votes nationwide.

He is a Member of the Board, University of Ibadan Advancement Centre since over a decade.

At 78 , Olajumoke’s example serving leadership is still rubbing positively in the heart of Nigeria and everywhere else that he has made footprints throughout his proud history .

Our thoughts and prayers are with the Statesman on the auspicious occasion of his 78th birthday.

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