Catholic Bishop in Eswatini Calls for Prayers to Break Ongoing “cycle of violence”

Bishop José Luis Ponce de León of Eswatini’s Catholic Diocese of Manzini/ Credit: Courtesy Photo

The Bishop for Eswatini’s Catholic Diocese of Manzini, José Luis Ponce de León, has called on the people of God in the Southern African country to pray for the gift of wisdom and courage to break the ongoing wave of violence and protests.

“I therefore call for everyone in our Diocese to be one in prayer asking God for the gift of wisdom and the gift of courage to break cycle of violence and follow God’s will of fullness of life for each one of us,” says Bishop Ponce de León in his Monday, July 5 statement obtained by ACI Africa. 

The Bishop further declares Rosary prayer sessions in the Diocese, which are expected to start on Monday, July 5 through Sunday, July 11 during which the intercession of Mary Queen of Peace will be sought to end the violence that has rocked the country for the last two months. 

“I ask everyone from today until Sunday, July 11, 2021, to daily pray the rosary at 6.00 PM with the intention of asking Mary Queen of Peace to intercede for us at this moment,” says the Bishop. 

The Catholic Church leader also asks members of the Clergy to have Eucharistic celebration as a special time to ask God for reconciliation in the country. 


“I call our Priests to choose the Masses for reconciliation, for harmony, for justice and for peace in their daily celebration of Mass together with the Eucharistic prayers for reconciliation,” the member of the Consolata Missionaries says. 

He further asks the people of God in the one-Diocese nation to seek God’s grace to become instruments of peace. 

Protests in Eswatini, formerly known as Swaziland and officially referred to as the Kingdom of Eswatini, were triggered by the death of Thabani Nkomonye in May, a 25-year-old law student at the University of Eswatini, allegedly at the hands of police.

The authorities could not explain the death of the university student even as family members tried to wrap their heads around a car accident police had said their son was involved in two days after he went missing. 

According to family members, Nkomonye’s body was found underneath thorny bushes about 30 meters from where the car was. 

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The car, a Mazda Sedan, reportedly had something which appeared like a bullet hole. 

The incident sparked protests in the country, which escalated into a call for an end in King Mswati III’s monarchy rule. 

The protests have now spread across the country with pro-democracy protests invoking Nkomoye’s name in the call for change in leadership. 

Various human rights and charity organizations have expressed fear over loss of lives in the landlocked country due to the protracted violent clashes between police and protestors. 

In a Thursday, July 1 interview with ACI Africa, Denis Hurley Peace Institute (DHPI) Director, Johan Viljoen said that more than a dozen protesters have already been killed in the violence.


“Government authorities have maintained that no one has died in the ongoing protests that are mostly staged at night. But our sources say that 18 people have already been killed,” Mr. Viljoen told ACI Africa July 1.

He adds, “There is fear that if this conflict is not resolved urgently, the violence will escalate to an uncontrollable situation and many people will be killed.”