The Communist Party of Swaziland (CPS) reported on February 28 that the police force of Africa’s last absolute monarchy has shot and disappeared one of their members, Mvuselelo Mkhabela, age 21. “Comrade Mvuselelo was badly shot at and dragged to the police van helplessly and his whereabouts and condition is unknown and the armed to teeth police force continued its attacks to the protesting community,” CPS tweeted. Reportedly this abduction happened at around 13:00h (local time) on February 28.
This latest act of violence by the Swaziland police force comes amid an uptick in police repression of recent protests against the “farcical” parliamentary elections. CPS claims that the elections are a farce because the parliament itself is under the control of the monarchy, so the electoral process constitutes “a tool used by the absolute monarchy to sanctify King Mswati’s decision.” Mvuselelo himself was arrested and tortured earlier this month for protesting these elections, which are set to occur this August. Shortly after his arrest, Mvuselelo told Peoples Dispatch, “Often, when [police] invade communities, there is no one to defend the family or the individual from the wrath of the regime. This cannot go on.” Mvuselelo was abducted today in one such police invasion.
Communists in Swaziland have been involved in a struggle against the monarchy for decades. In recent months, the regime led by King Mswati III has intensified attacks against pro-democracy activists, including the assassination of human rights lawyer Thulani Maseko, threats against union leader Sticks Nkambule, torture of union leader Mbhekeni Dlamini, and more.
“Mvuselelo’s consciousness and commitment to the just course of the people of Swaziland fighting for democracy in the face of a militarized system of oppression presided by Mswati and his political elites remains unwavering,” CPS wrote in a tweet.