Eswatini’s old order (Tinkhundla system of government), characterized by royal supremacy in which all facets of society are organized by and in the narrow interest of the royal family, is dying and because nature does not allow for a vacuum, the new (democratic order) is about to be born.

However, Engels’s dialectical law of negation of the negation dictates that while the new has to be born in the womb of the old, the old always refuses to die, but it cannot fight nature – at the end of the day it is negated and eventually dies. That is why Tinkhundla is going and multiparty democracy is coming.

The other interesting contradiction here is that the existence of Tinkhundla at some stage of the development of the Swazi society was necessary in order for the new order to emerge; every type of human society exists because it is necessary at the given time when it arises.

“No special order ever disappears before all the productive forces for which there is room in it, have been developed: and new higher relations of production never appear before the material conditions of their existence have matured in the womb of the old society. Therefore mankind always takes up only such problems as it can solve, since, looking at the matter more closely, we will always find that the problem itself arises only when the material conditions necessary for its solution already exist or at least are in the process of formation”. (Marx, Critique of Political Economy.)

All systems that existed before were necessary for the world to make progress, from slavery to feudalism and capitalism. Rob Sewell and Alan Woods (October 28, 2013) posit that slavery, in its day, represented an enormous leap forward over barbarism. It was a necessary stage in the development of productive forces, culture and human society.

“Similarly capitalism was originally a necessary and progressive stage in human society. However, like slavery, primitive communism and feudalism (see section 2), capitalism has long since ceased to represent a necessary and progressive social system. It has foundered upon the deep contradictions inherent in it, and is doomed to be overcome by the rising forces of socialism, represented by the modem proletariat,” they continued.

Therefore, the obsolete, barbaric, backward and discredited Tinkhundla system which once marked a necessary stage in the development of the Swazi society, has to go at the end of the day. That time has now come and a new dawn is upon the people of eSwatini; this new dawn will mark a new and qualitatively different stage of Swazi history.

It is also common and scientific for those who represent the old order to resist the change and fight as they do – and their last option is always the repressive state apparatus – but ultimately they will go; that moment has come to eSwatini.

If events of the past week have not served to underscore the determination of the forces for change then no other moment will ever achieve that. The people are openly and emphatically uniting in their unwavering rejection of a system that has oppressed them for decades. The youth, church, women, students, political parties, disabled, business, academics, unemployed, trade union and social movements are calling for an end to the old order; they want change now!

The Swaziland National Democratic Revolution is maturing and making huge progress with each passing day. This week it moved quicker than the previous one and the following week, month, year or decade look even brighter for the pro-democracy movement in the country. Surely, the new wants to be born in the womb of the old and the old will not survive!

The Swaziland Youth Empowerment Organization (Luvatsi), convened a youth consultative conference on the proposed SADC facilitated dialogue from Wednesday 11 May to Friday 13 May 2022. Young people came from rural communities, churches, NGOs, students’ movement and political parties to find each other and craft a unified position regarding the future they want, even beyond the proposed national dialogue.

A representative of the European Union (EU) Head of Delegation in eSwatini indicated to the youth that they are ready to assist the government with funding for the dialogue and that they are still waiting for a plan from the government.

EU Head of Delegation Representative answering questions during the conference

To these young people who had gathered at Esibayeni Lodge for this conference, freedom will mean an end to the high youth unemployment and improvement in their health, education and economy. Among other things, they are expecting the dialogue to address these issues.

The conference’s keynote speaker Professor Arthur Mutambara emphasized the need to look into models of ushering the country into a prosperous nation in a multiparty democracy, making the point that democracy is not an end in itself but a means to an end.

When The Bridge reached out to Fundizwi Sikhondze from Letfu Sonkhe Institute for Strategic Thinking and Development, he mentioned something consistent with what Professor Mutambara said. “The Pro-democracy movement has a task of thinking beyond the attainment of democracy as a concept but further think about what this democracy will mean to the ordinary people. Will it mean better education, health, jobs, houses and happiness for the people? This is important because if not, the democracy will be insulted by the same people it seeks to liberate,” says Sikhondze.

Another major development met with reactions from the nation was the denial of bail for pro-democracy MPs Bacede Mabuza and Mthandeni Dube. The nation is angry and many people see this as a deliberate act by the state to frustrate the MPs. Correctly so, the people of the country see this to be what it is – a political issue and not just legal.

On 26 April 2022, South Africa’s New Frame quoted the lawyer for the MPs, Sicelo Mngomezulu, to have said that he would like “Swazi people and the world to know that they have in their clients very responsible members of Parliament who are [fighting] to see a Swaziland that is democratic, and a government that is elected by the people”.

Again here, the bail denial has fuelled the fire as the forces for change are regrouping and eager to fight for change than ever before, hence the national consultative meeting called by the Political Party Assembly (PPA) on Sunday 15 May at SNAT centre in Manzini to discuss a way forward regarding the democracy struggle in the country.

Another most important political event this past week was a meeting called by the Swaziland Unemployed People’s Movement and attended by over 1000 people in Manzini on Saturday 14 May 2022. Participants came from all walks of life to discuss their collective future. Central to their deliberations were issues of land and minerals which they felt are owned by the king and used to benefit the royal family, making it hard for the unemployed youth to make a living from these precious national assets.

A section of the participants during the meeting by the Swaziland Unemployed People’s Movement

The organization’s President Lucky Dlamini told The Bridge that it was hard for them to influence economic policy under the prevailing political system in eSwatini because of its undemocratic nature.

“We see democracy as the only way out and we resolved that the intensification of the democracy struggle is of paramount importance,” he said. Dlamini further mentioned that they will continue to push for demands around jobs, land and minerals with the new and democratic government so that democracy becomes meaningful.

Letfu-Sonkhe’s Fundizwi Sikhondze said their organization still has to make its policy proposals in terms of concrete turn-around strategies, including as it relates to the high unemployment rate in the country. “But clearly, a change of political system will, among other things, unlock Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) as well as make the country stable and an investment destination of note. So, even tourism and other industries will immediately benefit,” he concluded.

In a nutshell, events of this past week gave a glimpse of the national political mood at the moment as more and more people are joining the democracy ranks and organizing in small and big corners as an expression of their cry for a new political order. They want change and this change will come through dismantling the old order.

Clearly, the old order is dying, but will it just die without fighting for its survival? The answer is: no, it will fight. And will the new order emerge victorious over the old? Yes, the old is being negated and will eventually die. In the womb of the old, the new will be born!