Life is slowly returning to normal in Eswatini after pro-democracy protests rocked the kingdom last week, resulting in deadly clashes between security forces and protesters and the destruction of properties.
Over the weekend there were more calls for urgent dialogue between government and protesters – from the EU, UK and US.
They condemned the use of violence and called for an investigation and the prosecution of the perpetrators.
The government has urged citizens to go about their business and not to feel intimidated as the security forces had taken control of the situation.
Civil society groups say dozens of people were killed by government forces – many for violating a curfew imposed in the wake of the protests.
A BBC source in the capital Mbabane said on Monday most shops had reopened and the food shortages of the previous week had disappeared.
Over the weekend a delegation sent by the southern African regional body, Sadc, briefly met government officials and civil society representatives.
A broad-based coalition of political parties, labour, business, the church, civil society, youth and women’s groups has called for inclusive dialogue led by Sadc – plus a new democratic constitution, the unbanning of political parties and a transitional authority.
Calls to end King Mswati III’s absolute rule have intensified in Eswatini. The most recent protests were sparked by a government decision to ban the delivery of petitions, after several parliamentarians encouraged their constituencies to submit petitions calling for more democratically elected leaders.
Khulekani Msweli a community activist and resident of Eswatini, told the BBC:
Quote Message: The biggest call at the moment and something that is infuriating the public is that His Majesty has been very silent. As the leader of a very aggrieved nation we would have expected him by now to call for calm and dialogue, but we have heard absolutely nothing.”
The biggest call at the moment and something that is infuriating the public is that His Majesty has been very silent. As the leader of a very aggrieved nation we would have expected him by now to call for calm and dialogue, but we have heard absolutely nothing.”