When Princess Dlalisile finally had the rare courage to speak against her own family other princes and princesses subsequently called a press conference to counter her claims giving us a cameo peek into the contradictions within the royal establishment. 

These incoherent and conflicting messages is true even in cabinet if the contradicting message from either the Prime Minister and his Ministers is anything to go by. 

The leaking of cabinet information and the unprecedented parliamentary tensions must also serve to define the depth of the crisis in the country as well as to exhaustively demonstrate to all and sundry that the state is collapsing. 

Parliament is now a confirmed site of struggle and no longer about just passing Tinkhundla legislation as various forces are involved in a daily conflict to dislodge one another using the institution. Gone are the days when Members of Parliament (MPs) used to sleep and be absent in parliament for no reason. Today they cannot afford to do that because the stakes are high and you would wake up to a house that has adopted a resolution to democratize the country. Tinkhundla MPs no longer sleep because progressive MPs are hard at work.

Furthermore, one moment the Minister of Education is announcing the closure of schools, a couple of weeks down the line they are opening and in two weeks’ time they close “to prepare for the festive season” whatever that means! This is happening at a time when Covid cased are shooting up, in an attempt to get numbers for tingatja (young boys) who must be part of the ongoing incwala ceremony. Curfew has been stopped so that things may look normal because ever since the June massacre everyone can feel that eSwartini will never be the same. About 100 people lost their lives, others got injured and some amputated, hundreds imprisoned, including the two MPs Bacede Mabuza and Mthandeni Dube whose case was postponed to January 2022. Another MP, Mduduzi Simelane, is in exile.

There is an emerging culture of violence in the country, if you look at the Mkhitsini conflict, police or soldiers houses being bombed, or even schools and police stations being targeted. The state continues to clamp down on peaceful gatherings and harassing political activists through raids, teargas and beatings as was the case at the high court this past week. Some school going children are in hiding because of ongoing interrogations in police stations.

All these are characteristic of a system that has fallen out of favour with the people and one that cannot govern a country. Indisputably, eSwatini is completely ungovernable and the Tinkhundla system is unworkable. The state machinery has collapsed and this is happening at the backdrop of a country experiencing the harshest of economic conditions in history. The government cannot fulfil its obligations and provide for basic services such as maintaining roads, healthcare and education. Schools are closed, all the way to tertiary level. Civil servants have not been getting cost of living adjustment for years now, at a time when fuel, electricity and food prices are increasing.

As the Swazi state collapses, the country's roads are a safety hazard

The growing spate of retrenchments, unemployment, insecure jobs, informalization, out-sourcing, casualization and poorly paying jobs reflect the Tinkhundla neo-liberal restructuring of the economy, towards serving more the interests of the royal family. The net result of all this is the growing levels of poverty, unemployment and inequalities in the country, with women as the worst victims. 

As the royal family dances at incwala ceremony, the country is sinking into collapse, with socio-economic indicators such as increasing levels of social destitution, crime, violence, exploitation and abuse of the people by the system and its agents; the increased militarisation of society and state violence against political activists and the people in general; shocking levels of inefficiency, poor management, dismal performance and institutionalised rot in the public service, with the net result that the people and communities receive very poor and pathetic service. 

Tinkhundla rot reproduces itself through all these social ills, hence the institutionalisation of the culture of corruption, violence and criminality, nepotism and favouritism, as well as low quality service and poor performance in every part of our society. Quite clearly, this is a crisis!

Of course this must not come as a surprise because, in the first place, Tinkhundla system was created in 1978 to entrench and institutionalise a culture and pattern of narrow elitist (royal) accumulation of wealth for the few and exclusion of the majority from the economy. At the centre of its very essence is the systematic marginalisation of the poor and working majority from decision-making, economic participation and plans about the future of the country and its people.

The only thing none would have anticipated was the time it would happen; it caught most of us by surprise hence the refusal to come to terms with the reality that the state machinery has collapsed in eSwatini. Anyone who makes an effort to fix things at this point is bound to suffer frustration. Allow the evil walls to fall and upon its ashes we shall build a new and democratic eSwatini with people centred state machinery that will deliver to the people.

What is important now is for the pro-democracy forces to intensify the struggle because failure to urgently change this society will result to more suffering by ordinary people. The progressive forces are maturing day by day and people’s power is gradually being realised. The changing conditions on the ground and the accumulation of political forces point to the renewed mounting of forces and unstoppable wave towards a new, just and democratic eSwatini.

Despite painful experiences, harsh conditions and state terror, the people of eSwatini have remained loyal and true to the cause of the revolution, even when it faced extreme attacks that sought to obliterate its existence into political extinction.

While our people have, for years, been involved in different forms of resistance against colonial and royal slavery, land dispossessions, denial of human rights and exploitation in their communities and workplaces, at this moment they are more determined to push for the meaningful change and take the struggle to its logical conclusion. 

Nothing can stop them now. As the state collapses, let it be known that in the womb of the old the new must be born, and that is why support must be given to institutions like Letfu Sonkhe Institute of Strategic Thinking and Development that is already taking up the task of looking into alternative polices for the new and democratic eSwatini.

Help us advance dynamic research, cutting-edge investigation, fearless and credible Journalism that holds the powerful accountable. Kindly donate to a publication that gives meaning to the news through nuanced and penetrative commentary, deep and credible research and more than anything fearless investigative journalism.

  • RSA FNB Account:
  • Account number: 62387624953
  • Branch code: 250655
  • *Cheque account