Push Eswatini to Implement “the dialogue”: Christian Leaders to Regional Development Body

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Christian leaders in Eswatini are calling on the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to push their government to implement “the dialogue” that was proposed last year to address the political situation in the country.

At the height of pro-democracy protests in July last year, the government of Eswatini said there would be a national dialogue, aimed at addressing the unrest that resulted in the loss of at least 50 lives. This is yet to take place. 

In their Wednesday, August 17 statement, officials of the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) in Eswatini’s Manzini Diocese and the Council of Swaziland Churches (CSC) say the government seems to have agreed to a dialogue “only to appease the regional partners and come out as being sensitive to the wishes of the citizenry.”

The CCJP and CSC officials say they “add their voices to other civil society organs both inside and outside calling on the regional economic bloc, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to urge the Eswatini Government to implement the ‘dialogue’ that was announced by the country's authorities almost a year ago.”

“Essentially, nothing has happened so far regarding the dialogue and the situation keeps getting worse, with the citizens being thrown into a cloud of uncertainty,” the Christian leaders say, adding, “Initially, there were timeframes that were set at the beginning of the talk of a dialogue, but these were never adhered to.” 


The actions of the government of Eswatini “seem to be premised from a hope that the current crisis is something that will pass and therefore buying time for that desired hour to come,” they lament.

“Whilst we note the recent efforts made by SADC to restore the initial culture of non-violence with a proposal for an all-inclusive national dialogue in Eswatini, we believe that very little has been done by the authorities to bring eMaswati together and bring synergy towards human normality where peace and stability reigns supreme,” the faith leaders say.

They note that their call for national dialogue in the Southern African landlocked country that was formerly named Swaziland is not new.

The officials of CCJP and CSC in the country underscore the need for urgent action, saying, “Given the unprecedented violence and the apparent determination to stick to this call, we humbly propose that attention to this call be given.” 

The Christian leaders say failure to heed to the calls for the dialogue “may lead to escalation of violence that will see more loss of life and the destruction of economy and infrastructure happening.”

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They have also raised concern about comments that seem to “effectively rule out the possibility of fruitful talks aimed at addressing the ongoing impasse.”

“If anything, the remarks further exacerbate an already volatile situation and somehow spell disaster for the country,” CCJP and CSC officials say in their August 17 statement.

The Christian leaders emphasize the need for genuine talks in Eswatini. They cite Pope Francis' Encyclical Letter on fraternity and social friendship, Fratelli Tutti, saying, "Authentic social dialogue involves the ability to respect other's point of view and to admit that it may include legitimate convictions and concerns."

Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.