MEMORANDUM: PUDEMO’s RESPONSE TO MEDIA REPORTS.
SUBJECT:‘BOMB SUSPECT ADMITS TO HAVE TAKEN PART IN BOMBING OF INKHUNDLA’.
DATE: 9th FEBRUARY 2006.
The current state of affairs in Swaziland comes in the backdrop of a situation where Comrade Mduduzi Dlamini, one of the suspects in the bombing case that has drawn local and international attraction, was arrested and incarcerated ALONE for long periods at the remote Nhlangano Prison. It comes from the scenario of constant harassment, torture,
insults, beatings of suspects, intimidation and the threat to evictions by traditional authorities of families and relatives of the suspects. The wife to Mduduzi Mamba, one of the suspects sadly died of trauma immediately following interrogation by the royal Swaziland police (who admitted in their response to inquiries that she had been uncooperative during the interrogation).
The state fails to establish a reasonably prosecutable case against any of the suspects, save only to bundle up their investigations and please the Mswati regime who had instructed the police to arrest as many PUDEMO and SWAYOCO members as possible before the end of 2005. We have proof that more than four of our members have been coerced by Khethokwakhe Ndlangamandla and others into making self-incriminating statements and to ‘volunteer’ to be state witnesses. Most of these comrades have rejected the offers with the contempt they deserve. Comrade Mduduzi Dlamini may not have had that opportunity to withstand that pressure.
Even though political party affiliation is prohibited by law in Swaziland, Mduduzi Dlamini has a right to enjoy his fundamental freedoms, including those of association, expression and assembly and, therefore, his membership or not to the People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO).
2.0. The State Of the Suspects.
The comrades in Mbabane, Matsapha Central, Nhlangano and Manzini prisons are strong and principled members of the organization, and we do not doubt their allegiance and commitment to the organization’s objectives. We stand by them, and are in contact with them and their families whenever possible. In spite of continued attempts to by the state, and other people who claim to be messiahs, to manipulate the comrades’ lack of legal
understanding, the suspects are consistent on their principles.
3.0. The Justice Course.
PUDEMO acknowledges that the members currently in custody are innocent until proven guilty, and the onus lies on the crown to prove their guilt. We have no reason to doubt the capability of the presiding judicial officers in this case and believe that they are honorable enough to uphold the principles of an independent justice in an environment respecting the rule of law.
We, however, have strong reservations on the manner comrade Mduduzi Dlamini was secretly hauled into the High Court for a confession when he (and the rest) were still to argue for bail, let alone plead. The statements that he allegedly made are so clear that he was spoon-fed to not only incriminate him but the other co-accused. This practice is
common in undemocratic states as previously seen in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and The Republic Of South Africa recently.
We also find it strange that a suspect charged for high treason together with 15 others, is eventually singled out and ‘tried’ separately. We also note that the comrade did not make these admissions under oath, and still, they were admissible in court. Our observations here are not with intentions against Mduduzi Dlamini, but on the commissions and omissions by the prosecution and the judicial processes which all raise doubts about
4.0. PUDEMO and Its Position.
We reiterate that at this moment the issue is not and should not be who is responsible for the attacks, but what their root cause is. The country is in such deep crisis due to the arrogance and intransigence of the royal tinkhundla regime, and this crisis gives birth to the people’s actions in quest for their freedoms. The people in Swaziland are angry for many reasons; from the rapid job losses, abject poverty, education system, evictions, declining standard of living, independence of the three arms of government, violation of the fundamental human rights and the overall lack of good governance. For these core demands, PUDEMO believes that people will vent their anger in any way at their disposal, and history teaches us that constructive dialogue and negotiation help avoid such situations.
In 1992, PUDEMO issued a document entitled The Way Forward To A Constituent Assembly Through A Negotiated Settlement as a proven mechanism for a sustainable people-driven, all-inclusive and owned transition to a democratic Swaziland. The royalist regime arrogantly rejected this peaceful program, and opted for a unilateral Mswati driven reform process sponsored by the Commonwealth Of Nations, the European Commission,
cessationist Taiwan and other proponents of repression and custodians of perpetual suffering of the poor African masses. PUDEMO is ready for any round table negotiations for a peaceful settlement in spite of the constant violent response on our unarmed members during peaceful marches and rallies.
We reaffirm our position on the current constitution that irrespective of whatever reforms that may have been unilaterally done in exclusion of representative stake-holders, the process MUST go back to the people through democratic processes of a national forum up to a constituent assembly stage for the people’s full ownership. Anything short thereof is nothing but cosmetic and will only be to the benefit of the monarchy and its surrogates. We call on the local and international community to see and view this position, and also the royal tinkhundla regime visa vis the conventions it is signatory to eg; the NEPAD and its APRM, the Harare Declaration, the African Charter and People’s Rights, the ACP/EU Cotonou Protocol the only way it is – dictatorial.
The arrests and recent admission by Mduduzi Dlamini are nothing else but attempts by the regime to silence the voice of opposition in Swaziland, in particular, PUDEMO and its youth league, SWAYOCO. We are not shaken by these clandestine moves, but they only strengthen our resolve to have a constitutional multi-party democracy in Swaziland. We are ready for talks towards this goal, but time is not on our side, and time comes when people say enough is enough and when time for such dialogue wanes.
We are waiting!
Official Statement Of PUDEMO
From the President’s Office.
09th February 2006. Ref.PR17/06PO
SWAZILAND CANNOT BE AN ISLAND OF DICTATORSHIP AND REPRESSION IN A SEA OF DEMOCRACY.