Africa-Press – Eswatini. The march organised in support of SNAT President Mbongwa Dlamini turned violent as shots and tear gas canisters were fired to disperse the supporters.
SNAT stands for the Swaziland National Association of Teachers. Dlamini was yesterday double-booked as he was expected to hand over responses to his ‘Show Cause’ letter to the Ministry of Education and Training and further meet the National Commissioner (NATCOM) of Police William Tsitsibala Dlamini, who had summoned him. At around 10am yesterday, supporters of the SNAT president arrived at the ministry and started singing political songs while waiting for him. The supporters included members of different political parties, unionists and SNAT members. Bishop Mpendulo Nkambule was also part of those who came to support Mbongwa.
Mbongwa arrived a few minutes later and joined the supporters in song. SNAT Secretary General (SG) Sikelela Dlamini addressed the supporters on the reason they were at the ministry. He then allowed the Trade Union Congress of Swaziland (TUCOSWA) President, Bheki Mamba, to address the supporters. The SNAT president then entered the ministry’s offices to hand over his letter and he took less than five minutes doing so and returned to the supporters. Thereafter, Sikelela addressed the supporters on the way forward, which was proceeding to the police headquarters. However, Sikelela told the supporters that only Mbongwa, the SNAT executive and other unions executives would go to the police headquarters.
He urged the supporters to remain at the Ministry of Education as the executives would return to address them. However, the supporters heard none of this and decided to march on their own, heading to the police headquarters via the road passing by the Mbabane Government Hospital. Just before reaching the police headquarters, the marchers were met with armed police officers from the Operational Support Services Unit (OSSU) and other police officers. There were over 100 police officers who stopped the marchers. The police informed the supporters to leave and fired shots in the air as well as tear gas canisters. The supporters ran helter-skelter while the police persuaded them.
Some of the supporters ran to the construction site near the Mobeni Flats below Mvwakwelitje area. The police invaded the construction site where there were workmen busy with their work. They reportedly assaulted some of the protesters who were hiding in the construction site. One of the supporters who was assaulted was a teacher from Evelyn Baring High School by the name of Lucky Mamba. Others who were injured during the skirmish were reportedly rushed to the hospital.