Churches in Swaziland Concerned about “rise in killings”, Call for Multi-sectoral Response

The Secretary of the Council of Swaziland Churches (CSC), Rev. Zwanini Shabalala. Credit: CSC

The Council of Swaziland Churches (CSC) has expressed concern about the rise in cases of intolerance that has been manifested in arson attacks and killings in the Southern African nation.

In a statement issued Monday, November 7, the church leaders in Swaziland call for a multi-sectoral response to the challenges in the country that is officially known as the Kingdom of Eswatini.

On November 4, gunmen reportedly executed a member of the Royal Guard stationed at the Ludzidzini Royal Palace. The report by the Sun Daily indicates that the executed member of the Royal Guard had been forced to record a video demanding that Eswatini's King Mswati III institute democratic reforms. 

In their statement, CSC leadership says, “The current political situation in eSwatini is extremely worrying as it challenges and affects the safety and security of every liSwati.”

“What is most disturbing is that this is happening at a time when the nation and the world at large is still trying to recover from the devastating Covid-19 pandemic and other national challenges the country was dealing with before the pandemic,” the church leaders say in the statement signed by the Council Secretary, Rev. Zwanini Shabalala.


CSC officials says that they find it regrettable that “since June 2021 the nation has been living in fear and our fears came true when we lost a number of people on June 29 and the weeks that followed.”

“Then there are the targeted killings of security forces and high-profile individuals, some of whom are killed in assassination style,” they recalls, adding, “Since June last year we have also seen a number of arson attacks on properties belonging to government and individuals regardless of whether they are viewed as progressive or conservative.”

The arson attacks and the killings, CSC leadership says, “are signs that something has gone wrong and they are visible to all emaSwati and the international community to see.”

Since pro-democracy protests in July last year, the killing of security officers in ambushes has become common in the kingdom of Eswatini, according to reports

On October 19, the Bishop of Eswatini’s Manzini Diocese bemoaned the killings of security officers in the Southern African Kingdom.

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In a statement shared with ACI Africa, Bishop José Luís Gerardo Ponce de León  condemned the reported killing of two policemen in Manzini in “broad daylight” and cautioned the people of God in Eswatini against seeking “violence as the only possible solution”.

In their November 7 statement, church leaders in Eswatini say, “This is what we are seeing today where everyone is worried about the high levels of intolerance, the violence and killings and everyone is trying to respond in the best way they know.”

CSC officials further say they have “always believed in and advocated for meaningful engagement and we have been calling for dialogue even before the infamous June 29th of 2021.”

 “The Council has and continues to condemn any form of violence regardless of who the perpetrator is,” they add.

As the church, CSC officials continue, “We have gathered that some of these acts are done in retaliation for what others have done.”


“This can never be condoned because the retaliation or revenge is taken on people who may not have committed the acts for which the revenge is done,” the church leaders add.

The church leaders say the situation calls for a national multi-sectoral response where every sector and member of society needs to play a role in finding a lasting solution. 

“This is no time to point fingers at groups or individuals,” the faith-based leaders say in their November 7 statement, adding, “We have learnt during pandemics that have affected the country that when the house is on fire, people come out with anything they have to try and put out the fire.”

Uncoordinated responses, the church leaders caution, “can fuel the fire not because there are people who intentionally want to see the fire escalating but because they used resources at their disposal which may unfortunately be flammable materials.”

“It is for this reason therefore that we as the Council of Swaziland Churches plead for calm from everyone and that we give dialogue a chance,” the church leaders say.

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They add, “It is exactly because of misunderstandings and disputes that people dialogue, meaning that we cannot wait for a conducive environment to start talking as the purpose of dialogue is to resolve conflicts.”

CSC officials “humbly appeal to His Majesty the King and to Her Majesty the Indlovukazi to listen to the voices of all emaSwati and assist the nation speak to itself so that we stop the violence.”

“Our appeal also goes to all government and traditional structures to make dialogue a culture of resolving disputes,” they say.

They further “appeal to all leaders of political parties and organizations, whether formally registered or not, banned or unbanned to prioritize dialogue.”

The Christian leaders underscore the value of dialogue, saying it “will save the country from the fear and uncertainty they are going through and that the social and economic development of emaSwati will be realized.”

Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.