Civilians are standing up for democracy in two African countries, risking life and limb to do so.
🔸 Pro-democracy protests in our neighbouring country, eSwatini (Swaziland), started in June and have escalated over the past two weeks; armed police have used force and authorities temporarily shut down internet services. Protesters, most of them university students and civil servants, want the right to democratically elect a leader; a full transition to democracy and better living conditions. eSwatini is Africa’s last absolute monarchy and has been ruled by King Mswati III – who enjoys obscene luxury while ordinary citizens live in extreme poverty – for 35 years. South Africa has sent envoys from the region to engage with Mswati
🔸 Further north in Sudan, the military has seized power and overthrown the uneasy transitional government it was part of with civilian leaders. This interim government was supposed to help the country transition more fully towards democracy, with an election in 2023, but these hopes are now imperilled. Sudan’s people are not taking it lying down: we’re seeing a repeat of scenes in 2019 that led to the downfall of the country’s brutal leader, Omar al-Bashir. The north African nation has also resorted to shutting down the internet, a dirty and desperate trick of authoritarian despots everywhere. Ten people have reportedly been killed with several others injured. The US, UK, African Union and others are in discussions with Sudanese authorities.