Koffi Sawyer

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King Mswati III of Swaziland (now Eswatini) at the closing ceremony of the 37th Southern African Development Community (SADC) Summit in Pretoria, South Africa. Photo by GULSHAN KHAN/AFP via Getty Images.

Protests in the kingdom of Eswatini which first started back in May 2021 – and in which scores of citizens have died – have continued into 2022, creating increased domestic pressure to address longstanding demands for democratic reforms.

But critics are sceptical that the announced ‘sibaya’ – a process by which citizens’ views are collated by traditional leaders before a national gathering at the king’s own ‘kraal’ – will be a genuine platform for discussion, and instead see it as just a means for the monarch to reassert authority.

Although the primacy of domestic stakeholders in national political processes must be sacrosanct, given the context in Eswatini of a polarized political landscape and a significant trust deficit, the international community must play an important role in supporting a constructive and meaningful process.…  Seguir leyendo »