Eswatini blames unnamed people for school protests

Eswatini Prime Minister Cleopas Sipho Dlamini has blamed unnamed individuals for instigating a wave of protests by students demanding the release of pro-democracy MPs Bacede Mabuza and Mthandeni Dube, local media have reported.

Learning has been disrupted in at least 10 schools in the southern region of Shiselweni and Lubombo in the east, as students stage sit-ins and destroy property.

“In the past few days we have seen unrest in a few schools, particularly in the southern region. Children have left classes and are roaming the streets subconsciously pushing agendas of other people. Needless to say, these are faceless people. Valuable time is being lost at a time where examinations are getting closer,” Mr Dlamini said.

Meanwhile, Education and Training Minister Lady Howard Mabuza has warned teachers that action will be taken against anyone inciting the students to protest.

“We have received disturbing reports to the effect that in some of the schools where pupils staged protest, some teachers are suspected to have been instigators.

“We have dispatched our regional education officer to investigate the matter and if sufficient evidence proves liability, the implicated teacher or teachers will be taken to task,” Ms Mabuza said.

The leaders appealed to parents to control their children so that learning can resume ahead of national examinations in October.

The two MPs were arrested on 25 July and arraigned on charges of terrorism and a breach of Covid guidelines.

Their arrests came on the back of months of street protests to demand political reforms in the monarchy led by King Mswati III.

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