Southern African Bishops Join Murder Condemnation of Eswatini’s “protagonist of dialogue”

Late Thulani Maseko. Credit: Courtesy Photo

Catholic Bishops in Southern Africa have joined the Local Ordinary of Manzini in Eswatini in condemning the murder of  Thulani Maseko, a human rights lawyer in the Southern African Eswatini: Activist Thulani Maseko shot dead at his home | AfricanewsKingdom.

Mr. Maseko was reportedly shot dead at close range through the window of his house by yet-to-be-identified gunmen, around 50 kilometers from Mbabane, which serves as the executive capital of Eswatini on the night of January 21. 

“We join our brother, Bishop Jose Luis, in condemning his murder and call on ‘those who make a choice of violence’ to choose the way of peace instead,” members of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SACBC) say in a Monday, January 30 statement. 

In the statement signed by SACBC President, Bishop Sithembele Sipuka, the Catholic Bishops in Botswana and South Africa say they “learned with great sadness about the murder of Thulani Maseko, widely regarded as a protagonist of dialogue in the efforts to bring about political stability in that country.” 

In a statement shared with ACI Africa on January 23, Bishop José Luis Ponce de León condemned the murder of the chairperson of the Swaziland Multi-Stakeholders Forum (MSF), saying the killing “points to those who make a choice for violence, death, fear and exclusion as foundations of our common future.”


The Bishop described the late activist as one who "believed that only an all-inclusive national dialogue could be a strong foundation for the future of our country.”

Mr. Maseko was well known for being among those calling for electoral reforms in the country that was previously known as Swaziland.

In 2021, Maseko together with other representatives of civil societies in Eswatini rejected King Mswati III’s invitation to discuss the country’s political crisis at an annual national general meeting known as Sibaya. 

“Sibaya cannot, and is not an appropriate venue for an inclusive dialogue and has no significant value in shaping our destiny and as a people. We have long lost hope in such forums, and therefore WE SHALL NOT attend the meeting,” representatives of civil societies in Eswatini said in a statement signed by Maseko.  

In a January 28 statement, Church leaders in the Kingdom said that Mr. Maseko's murder is the most recent "senseless and brutal killing of Swazi citizens by unknown perpetrators."

More in Africa

The leaders under the auspices of the Eswatini Conference of Churches condemn the murders, saying, "Killing of another human being is an abomination in the eyes of the Almighty and dire consequences."

The Church leaders have called on their country's government to "expediently investigate" the killings and bring the perpetrators to book.

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.