CANGO and The Multi Stakeholder Forum (MSF) convened a cross section civil society organizations of Eswatini which included Multi Stakeholder Forum members, Political Party Assembly, non-governmental organizations, women groups, people living with disability, LGBTI, and youth at Sibayeni Lodge, Matsapha on 27 and 28th June 2023 to collectively envision an Eswatini of the future. This conference was informed by four studies that CANGO conducted on the country’s economy; social issues facing minorities like disabled, LBGTQI, youth and women; and the governance and political challenges facing the country.
The conference is being held in June, a month where in 2021 over a hundred lives of Emaswati were lost, others maimed or hospitalized while others were imprisoned. The conference served as a platform to commemorate these sad past events, where participants also observed a moment of silence in honour of the deceased.
Participants engaged in a deep frank reflection of our shared difficult political experiences, the social and economic hardship that Emaswati are currently experiencing and the indifference shown by those in authority in light of all that is happening.
The meeting further reflected on current realities which Emaswati were experiencing such as gross human rights violations, a slow onset health crisis, issues of scholarships, joblessness, inequality, gender-based violence, and the shrinking civic space characterized the lack of right to free expression and freedom to protest. There are also governance, democracy and social exclusion of minority groups challenges.
The conference then agreed on 9 thematic issues that should inform the Eswatini that is desirable. These included:
There was a general understanding and commitment in building a legacy for the coming generation characterized by peace, national cohesion and a prosperous value-based society.
It was agreed therefore that the document produced will be used to enable communities to also make their views heard. All participants committed to engage their constituencies and communities that they serve to better articulate their views in an all-inclusive externally mediated political dialogue to resolve the socio-economic and political impasse engulfing the country.