South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa and King Mswati III on Tuesday agreed that the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Secretariat would work closely with the government of Eswatini to draft terms of reference for the national dialogue forum.
Eswatini has been experiencing unrest for several months with growing calls from activists for democratic processes to begin in the embattled kingdom – that remains as Africa’s last absolute monarchy.
Eswatini security forces are accused of killing many protesters in a heavy-handed effort to put down the protests.
On Tuesday, Ramaphosa, in his capacity as Chair of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security, visited the troubled kingdom.
Ramaphosa concluded a one-day working visit to the Kingdom of Eswatini after he had an audience with King Mswati III.
The South African president and King Mswati III held discussions on a broad range of matters relating to the political and security situation in the kingdom.
“The deliberations resolved that the Kingdom of Eswatini will embark on a process that will work towards the establishment of a national dialogue forum,” said Ramaphosa.
He said King Mswati III, “agreed that the SADC Secretariat would work closely with the government of Eswatini to draft terms of reference for the national dialogue forum”.
Ramaphosa added that these terms of reference will specify processes for the forum as well as the composition of the forum.
“The process towards the national dialogue will take into account and incorporate structures and processes enshrined in the Constitution of the Kingdom of Eswatini, including the role of the Parliament of the Kingdom, and the Sibaya convened by His Majesty King Mswati III,” said Ramaphosa.
“This preparatory process will take place during the coming three months, a period during which His Majesty will undertake his annual, mandatory Incwala ceremony.”
Ramaphosa said he and King Mswati III were at one in “calling on all stakeholders among emaSwati to work together to end violence and conflict, and maintain peace and calm in the kingdom as work commences on the national dialogue process”.