This is a statement from the Swaziland Solidarity Network (SSN) about the order given by King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, to demolish homes on land he holds ‘in trust’ for the Swazi people.
King Mswati's Operation Murambatsvina
17th November 2010
The Swaziland Solidarity Network condemns the infantile, inhumane and downright disgusting behavior of the king of Swaziland who has issued an order that peoples’ houses be demolished on Swazi nation land. This “Operation Murambatsvina” is being conducted at kaShali, an area under Swazi nation land on the outskirts of Manzini.
So far a total of 18 homesteads have been demolished and while a court order has been able to temporarily halt the demolition of the affected 400 homes pending a detailed affidavit from the prince in charge of the area, Prince Matalazela, we feel that this will only postpone the inevitable because the Prince was appointed by the king and therefore cannot by tradition oppose him. Moreover, it is also the same courts who issued an order that these houses be demolished because apparently the land had since been transferred to the king’s personal ownership.
The victims of this act claim that they rightfully acquired the right to build on the land from the chief by following the traditional rite of kukhonta, which requires payment of a cow or the equivalent in money, to the Umphakatsi (Chief’s kraal). It was only after they had done this that the area was apparently “transferred” to the king’s ownership. No plans were made to relocate them or to rebuild their homes.
This act is unprincipled, unSwazi , uncivilised and diametrically opposed to the spirit of uBuntu. We hope that the country’s civic organisations will rally behind the victims of king Mswati’s latest act of repression and that those whose homes have already been demolished will be fully compensated.
Meanwhile the SSN fully support the protest march led by the country trade unions movement today (17 November 2010) in Swaziland we in particular by the show of unity by the progressive forces under the banner of the Swaziland United Democratic Front [SUDF].
Issued by the Swaziland Solidarity Network [SSN]