US Secretary of State expresses hope that eSwatini will hold long-awaited national dialogue after elections

eSwatini flag. Picture: jorono/Pixabay

eSwatini flag. Picture: jorono/Pixabay

Published Sep 6, 2023


The US Secretary of State (Foreign Affairs Minister equivalent), Antony J. Blinken has expressed hope that eSwatini will hold its long-awaited national dialogue after its elections.

The national dialogue is expected to include all warring sides and those calling for democratic reforms and map a way forward for the kingdom after two years of a low-intensity civil war.

Blinken’s expressed his hope in a statement his office issued on Wednesday as eSwatini celebrates its 55th independence day.

eSwatini gained its independence on September 6, 1968, after Britain granted it self-rule after years of being a protectorate state, together with the likes of Lesotho and Botswana.

On Wednesday, the kingdom would host a double celebration dubbed 55/55 to celebrate its independence, while simultaneously celebrating the 55th birthday of its monarch, King Mswati III.

“On behalf of the United States of America, I congratulate all eSwatini on 55 years of independence,” Blinken said in his statement.

“As you mark this momentous occasion, let us also celebrate the strong friendship between our two nations. We honour our progress on health, climate change adaptation, and addressing a period of unrest,” he said.

Blinken then expressed hope that now that the kingdom has restored stability after two years of unrest following the death of a law student who was killed by Mswati’s forces, sparking a demand for political reforms, the dialogue will take place.

“This collaboration has only strengthened the relationship between the United States and eSwatini as we hope for democratic elections followed by an inclusive national dialogue. We look forward to continued engagement on both of our country’s core values for years to come,” he said.

The elections in the Kingdom of eSwatini are expected at the end of this month and all those elected will go on to be part of the national parliament.

Progressive democratic movements like Pudemo, the oldest opposition parties in the country, boycotted them, saying they are not democratic and open to all.

The spokesperson of the government of eSwatini, Alpheous Nxumalo, had not responded to IOL when asked whether a date has been set for the dialogue or not.

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