Police raid homes of pro-democracy activists

Association 

In late December 2019, it was reported that police officers raided the homes of pro-democracy activists in Mbabane, in the name of His Majesty King Mswati III. The officers had obtained court warrants which allowed them to seize electronic gadgets and other belongings of their targets, who included political activists and leaders of the Political Parties Assembly (PPA), Ngwane National Liberation Congress’s (NNLC) Sibongile Mazibuko, The People's United Democratic Movement’s (PUDEMO) Secretary General Wandile Dludlu and other pro-democracy activists. It is alleged that they were targeted for calling for democratic reforms.

Sibusiso Nhlabatsi, a human rights lawyer said:

“No matter how unlimited the powers of the King might be, it cannot be justified that he uses the police to silence dissenters. He should lead a dialogue”

The police however denied allegations that they were targeting activists, claiming that the searches were random and intelligence led.

As previously reported on the CIVICUS Monitor, in 2019, protests began to escalate in the country as pro-democracy citizens and activists demanded political reforms in the country which is ruled under an absolute monarchy by King Mswati III. Political parties have been banned in the country since 1973, and the government has often stifled dissent and demonstrations.