Aido Network International has called for dialogue between a selection of African traditional and political leaders with King Mswati III as a way to resolve the current crisis in Eswatini.
This position was agreed upon on 6th July 2021 during a dialogue on Eswatini between the traditional African leaders and civil societies. The dialogue was attended by over 100 attendees on Zoom and streamed live on YouTube – to over 6,000 viewers
Aido Network International in Partnership with Action Support Centre, South Africa is working in collaboration with civil society groups in Eswatini to lead an initiative to try to bring an end to the conflict and moderate a dialogue between African leaders and civil society organisations.
HH Paul Eganda, President of Aido chaired the meeting and Martin Weightman, Aido’s Human Rights and Interfaith Advisor outlined Aido’s position.
Mr. Weightman explained that there are three key foundations upon which conflict should be resolved. “The first of these is what we in Aido link together Ubuntu or human rights,” he said. “Ubuntu as an African concept going together with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and also expressed in the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights.” He added that Aido is developing a training along these lines.
“The second is a broad respect for traditions and cultural values and the third, which is closely tied into the second one, is a support for the traditional kingdoms and royalty throughout Africa, Weightman said.
He pointed out that the Kings and Queens of Africa are a valuable and rich heritage that are integral to the African continent and that where there are human rights abuses, it is the responsibility of the leaders to recognise these instances and to take the initiative to develop and adapt their own cultures in alignment with respect for ubuntu/human rights principles.
Mr. Weightman said that Aido is apolitical and that it was up to the free choice of any people to determine what kind of government they wanted.
After the civil society groups had spoken, His Imperial Majesty King Bhungane III of the Embo Kingdom opened the input from royalty and politicians from Zimbabwe, Cameroon, Nigeria, Uganda and Ghana. They were united in working together to form a delegation that would approach King Mswati III in order to bring about a resolution to the problems along the lines developed by AIDO.
“We do not necessarily see ourselves as political leaders but as custodians of our cultures,” said King Bhungane III. “It is, therefore, with this understanding of our roles that we support the idea of moving forward to initiate dialogue with King Mswati III to bring about a resolution to the current conflict and promote respect for human rights.”
The dialogue resolved that Aido will inform the African Union and SADC of this initiative and help to facilitate a meeting with the traditional leaders and King Mswati III in order to resolve the conflict. They also resolved to set up a body that would allow African traditional leaders to develop dialogue among themselves.