The Cry of ESwatini:
Christian Councils of Southern Africa urge for inclusive National Dialogue in the Kingdom of

The SACC is an instrument and servant of its members.

8 July 2021

  1. The General Secretaries of Christian Councils in Southern Africa are issuing this statement under the auspices of their regional organisation, the Fellowship of Christian Councils in Southern Africa (FOCCISA) in response to the disturbing reports on the brutal attacks on the civilian population by the government security forces as well as the destruction of property by some protestors.
  2. The Christian Councils of Southern Africa, on behalf of the churches and congregations of member churches, extend heartfelt condolences to the families of those who have lost their lives during these tragic experiences.
  3. Reports of people being shot in cold blood invoke the words of the prophet Isaiah who speaks on God’s behalf that, God “saw that there was no one and was shocked because there was no one to intervene.” (Isaiah 59:16a). The situation puts a great burden on all of us as sisters and brothers of the SADC region, as if God was asking Cain when he killed his brother Abel in cold blood, “where is your brother?”
  4. As FOCCISA, we are moved by Christ’s compassion to act in solidarity with the people of Eswatini has been calling for the democratisation of their society for a very long time.
  5. Having studied the unfolding situation in eSwatini, the FOCCISA is calling:
    a. For the immediate cessation of all forms of state-sponsored violence against the citizens. We have received no less than 44 names of people known to have died, allegedly at the hands of the security forces.
    b. On the Southern African Development Community (SADC), to urge the Government of Eswatini to withdraw the military back to barracks and let the police handle policing. Soldiers are essentially trained to kill and hence cannot manage public protests appropriately when and if they occur.
    c. The establishment of a National Dialogue process, not only to address the immediate issues but also to chart a way forward towards the establishment of constitutional democracy. We trust that through such a process, the voices of ordinary people will be heard – those who have been submitting petitions to Government, leading up to the
    current impasse. Only a genuine National Dialogue that ventilates all opinions for all options is most likely to yield a lasting solution of peace with justice.
    d. For the suspension of all public protests to give space for the creation of the dialogue process.
  6. The FOCCISA welcomes the statement by President Masisi of Botswana, the Chair of the SADC Organ for Politics, Defence and Security, announcing that the SADC mission will be returning to the country with urgency, to hold broad inclusive consultations, to gain a deeper
    appreciation of the gravity and scope of the developments in eSwatini.
  7. The SADC Organ for Politics, Defence and Security have the mandate of the SADC with objectives that include among other things, to “protect the people and safeguard the development of the Region against instability arising from the breakdown of law and order, intra-state, inter-state conflict and aggression.” Currently, the people are not protected, and
    development is deeply compromised due to this instability. The other objective is to “prevent, contain and resolve inter-and intra-state conflict by peaceful means.” Currently, conflict is being resolved through violent means. The organ also aims at observing and encouraging “state Parties to implement, United Nations, African Union and other international conventions and treaties…” Many international conventions and treaties are being abused in eSwatini as military arms are allegedly being used against defenceless citizens.
  8. The FOCCISA is calling for the All-Africa Conference of Churches (AACC), the World Council of Churches (WCC), and all people of faith worldwide to join us in prayers for the churches and the people of Eswatini in this time of difficulties. An Ecumenical Prayer of solidarity with the churches and people of eSwatini will be conducted on the Zoom platform this evening at 19h30; featuring church leaders from the diversity of the countries represented in FOCCISA. It will also feature the participation of the World Council of Churches and the All-Africa Conference of Churches, to pray for God’s grace to console the bereaved, comfort
    the injured, and accompany the nation towards healing and a lasting of justice and peace. ////ENDS About FOCCISA:
    The Fellowship of Christian Councils in Southern Africa (FOCCISA) is a fellowship of Christian Councils of Churches in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Region which provides a forum to facilitate consultation, networking and cooperation of the churches in the SADC. The region, to deal with the resolution of regional crises. Currently, FOCCISA is comprised of:
    • Botswana Council of Churches
    • Christian Council of Lesotho
    • Christian Council of Mozambique
    • Christian Council of Tanzania
    • Council of Christian Churches in Angola
    • Council of churches in Namibia
    • Council of Churches in Zambia
    • Council of Swaziland Churches
    • Malawi Council of Churches
    • Southern African Council of Churches
    • Zimbabwe Council of Churches. The forum serves to coordinate and exchange views by its members in the region, by revitalising the role of media and communication in promoting and strengthening democratic consciousness values,
    good governance and civic awareness against social evils like corruption, nepotism, discrimination in all its forms and in particular against women and the marginalisation of the poor. The work of FOCCISA is founded on the Gospel of salvation, liberation, justice and reconciliation, as re-affirmed by Jesus Christ.