Eswatini: Unknown Gunmen Kill Popular Opposition Leader

Image copyright: AFP [via Al Jazeera]

The Facts

  • Thulani Maseko, a prominent opposition political activist and human rights lawyer in Eswatini — formerly known as Swaziland — was shot dead on Saturday night by unknown gunmen at his home in Luhleko, some 50 km (30 miles) from the capital Mbabane.

  • Maseko, who had been sentenced to two years in prison in 2014 on charges of contempt of court, was also the leader of the pro-democracy Multi-Stakeholders Forum of political parties and civil society groups.

The Spin

Narrative A

The heinous murder of Maseko adds to the streak of King Mswati's politically-motivated killings that started in the wake of political protests in June 2021. After his efforts to strengthen a hit squad to burn properties belonging to those calling for democracy and kill them were recently exposed, the King did not deny that he had indeed hired mercenaries to crush dissent.

Narrative B

Responding to this tragic and violent death that has shocked and saddened the country, Eswatini's security forces have been searching for the killers and will not rest until they're brought to justice. Baseless claims that the government is involved in this or other murders only hamper investigations and divert attention away from the real criminals.

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