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Photo by Minasse Wondimu Hailu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images.

ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA - JULY 2: King of Swaziland Mswati III arrives to Bole International Airport ahead of the 29th African Union summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on July 2, 2017.

Pro-Democracy Protests Erupt in the Kingdom of Eswatini

Amid intensifying pro-democracy protests and violence in eSwatini, King Mswati III has reportedly fled to South Africa.

The Kingdom of eSwatini is currently embroiled in intensifying pro-democracy protests. The protests, which began this past Monday, are calling for a new democratic government and have already resulted in various properties and shops set alight as well as escalating violence. There have been clashes between protesters and the local police with multiple arrests having taken place. Fearing for his safety, King Mswati III has reportedly fled to Johannesburg, South Africa.


READ: eSwatini Prime Minister Ambrose Mandvulo Dlamini Dies

A local activist spoke to TimesLIVE anonymously and described the motivation for the current protests. "The situation is not good at all. What started as a peaceful petition has now turned into a violent protest and is intensifying all because of an absolute monarch who is controlling everything from parliament to the judiciary," they said. They went on to add that, "We live in a nation where almost 70% of the population live below the poverty line."

The Kingdom of eSwatini is perhaps one of the last absolute monarchies still existing in the world. As its citizens are confronted with rising unemployment and poverty, King Mswati III has continued to live and rule lavishly in spite of the dire socio-economic challenges facing his kingdom. In 2019, King Mswati III purchased 20 Rolls Royces which he reportedly gifted to his multiple wives, according to IOL. This is but one example of the opulence in which the monarch continues to bask.

The Communist Party of Swaziland, whose members have been participating in the protests, has criticised King Mswati III after their Deputy General Secretary, Mxolisi Ngcamphalala, was reportedly assaulted by the police. It is unclear, however, when the royal household will issue a statement in response to the ongoing events.

There is an observable stirring happening among eSwatini citizens. In May of this year, the youth took to the streets to demand justice for 25-year-old Thabani Nkomonye, a student at the University of eSwatini (UNESWA), who was believed to have died at the hands of police.

News Brief
Photo by Thierry Monasse/Getty Images

The Omicron Variant Was Detected In Europe a Week Before It Was Identified In South Africa

Let's see how the world scrambles to backtrack on their blatant attempts at making COVID-19 Africa's disease.

Surprise! It turns out that the latest COVID-19 variant first identified by South African scientists (which the world had no problem then blaming them for) was first detected in The Netherlands — a full week before it caught wind in Africa.

The Omicron variant was identified in retests of samples taken between November 19 and 23, the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) announced on Tuesday. So, the variant existed in Europe before it was reported in Africa - do you think Europe is about to be locked away from the rest of the world? The answer will probably not surprise you.

Continue for original story below (published November 30, 2021)

If there's one thing Western media is going to do, it's going to make African countries out to be the bad, irresponsible kids on the team.

Last week, South African scientists informed the globe that they had discovered and identified a new variant of the COVID-19 virus, which the World Health Organization went on to name Omicron. The variant's influence and characteristics are yet to be understood, as leading scientists in South Africa — and across the world — scramble to understand the next layer of the COVID-19 virus. It also means that it is impossible to dictate exactly where the variant originated from.

The news broke, and the world began to panic, with the brash reactions manifesting as a near-global travel ban, to and from South Africa, over fears of the latest variant. The almost immediate ostracization has resulted in hordes of foreign nationals within South Africa being "stranded", and South African citizens abroad not being able to get back home.

The Omicron strain was identified in neighboring country Botswana at the same time, but among a group of foreign diplomatic visitors, with two ministers warning Western onlookers from "geo-politicizing this virus". Malawian President Lazarus Chakwera went on to openly accuse Western countries of "Afrophobia" for shutting their borders with such haste, and in a manner that seems as if they've been waiting for the opportunity to do so. Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO's Regional Director on the African continent said, "With the Omicron variant now detected in several regions of the world, putting in place travel bans that target Africa attacks global solidarity." Israel announced over the weekend that they would enforce travel bans on all African countries... except those which reside in North Africa (Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, etc). U.S Governor Greg Abbott received backlash after ignorantly tweeting on Sunday that, "Immigrants have recently been apprehended crossing our border illegally from South Africa."

According to Reuters, South Africa's National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) and relevant parties have requested an urgent sitting this Friday with WHO's working group on virus evolution, to discuss the new variant and what this could mean for this next phase of the global pandemic. South African president Cyril Ramaphosa has urged the countries that have implemented travel bans on the country to rethink and ultimately lift them, vocalizing his disappointment in the ease with which world leaders are prepared to shut African countries out of an issue we are experiencing as a global unit. Ramaphosa also argued that the bans would not successfully stop the transmission of the newer variant, "The only thing the prohibition on travel will do is to further damage the economies of the affected countries and undermine their ability to respond to, and recover from, the pandemic," he said.

This is not the first time that South Africa has been held liable for a newly discovered variant of the COVID-19 virus. Last December, a Beta variant was detected in the Southern African country and the world reacted in a similar way — inappropriately. Claims that the newly identified variant is the most dangerous are irresponsible are simply not true — scientists have little to no real information on how this variant may affect people, as it has just been discovered.

Informed individuals and social media warriors alike took to their handheld devices to set the records straight, with some congratulating South Africa's team for being responsible in their handling of a global pandemic. Even Piers Morgan got it right.


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