By Mlondolozi Ndlovu
Harare – Swaziland former student and youth activist Maxwell Dlamini has demanded SADC to intervene and demand the release of missing Zimbabwean activist Itai Dzamara who went missing last year after demanding President Robert Mugabe to step down.
Dlamini is currently in the country for a familiarisation tour organised by Youth Forum on the challenges faced by youth and student activists in the two countries in a bid to share notes in the fight against oppressive regimes.
Swaziland is an absolute monarchy which is headed by King Mswati who has often been accused of ruling with an iron fist using repressive laws that stifle individual freedoms.
They are striking similarities between Zimbabwe and Swaziland as those who oppose the regime are usually subjected to intimidation, harassment and even enforced disappearances.
Dzamara is a journalist cum activist who went missing since March last year after demanding President Mugabe to step down for his failure to run the economy.
Civil society, opposition political parties in Zimbabwe, the US government and the European Union have called for his release saying it undermines the freedoms guaranteed by the constitution.
Swaziland youth leader Dlamini is the former Swaziland National Students Union President and now an activist and member of the opposition political party has demanded that he be released.
“We are concerned about the loss of young people who demand accountability from their leaders. As Swaziland citizens we will demand his release in the region and call for campaigns for his release and other political prisoners,” said Dlamini who is the Swazi official opposition PIDEMO executive council member.
Dlamini made a passionate plea to SADC to set up a commission to investigate into the Dzamara case.
“We also call for the release of political prisons. SADC set up a commission to look into the issue of Itai Dzamara and bring the man to his family,” said Dlamini who has been arrested several times in the mountainous kingdom for demanding his freedom.
Dlamini also revealed that he was working with other youths from across the region for the revival of the Southern African Students Union (SASU) in a bid to bring solidarity to students fighting regimes in the region.
He called for solidarity among Zimbabwean youths and students saying they was need for youth to find for the common good.
“Our solutions are no longer with the old people. The challenges we face in Swaziland are the same with those you face in Zimbabwe for example in Swaziland we have an absolute monarchy whilst in Zimbabwe you have a monarchy that you renew every 5 years,” he added.