Eswatini: Murder Of Thulani Maseko Is A “Deplorable Act Of Violence”

ITUC condemns the murder of Thulani Maseko, a human and trade union rights advocate and political activist in Eswatini.

He was shot dead by unknown gunmen in front of his family at his home in Manzini on 21 January.

From 2012 to 2015, Thulani Maseko defended the rights of the Trade Union Congress of Eswatini (TUCOSWA) against government deregistration. Since then, he has provided legal advice to the Eswatini trade union movement.

He was also the chairman of the Multi-Stakeholder Forum (MSF), which represented progressive groups working for democracy in Eswatini after political parties were banned. Eswatini is the only country in Africa that is ruled by an absolute, despotic monarch: King Mswati III.

ITUC deputy general secretary, Owen Tudor, said: “This is a reprehensible act of violence that deserves international condemnation and action.

“The Global Trade Union Movement expresses its deepest condolences to the family of Thulani Maseko and the people of Eswatini for this terrible loss of a great human rights defender and campaigner for social justice.

“We demand a full and independent investigation and no impunity: those responsible must be brought to justice.

“The Eswatini government must account for all political killings in the country since 2021. I call on the United Nations Human Rights Council, the Commonwealth, the African Union and the Southern African Development Community to act now, before more people are killed.

“The people of Eswatini want the basic right to peace and the right to choose their national leaders. The government should engage in social dialogue with trade unions and all stakeholders to address the challenges faced by the nation.

State-supported political violence is widespread in Eswatini:

  • since a student Protest in June 2021more than 80 people have reportedly been murdered by security forces.
  • Many people, including trade union members, have been seriously injured in attacks by security forces on demonstrations, while others have fled the country and live in exile.
  • Two Members of Parliament, Maduduzi Bakede Mabuza and Mathandeni Dubey, have been jailed on false charges since 2021 following a public protest demanding good governance and a democratic state.
  • ITUC raised the alarm this month Regarding the recent attacks on trade unionists and pro-democracy campaigners.

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