The People’s United Democratic Movement strongly condemns the arrest of the People’s Lawyer Thulani Maseko this morning by the state’s security agents acting on the instructions of the country’s authorities.
Comrade Maseko was ambushed at his home just before going to work. He was subsequently taken to the Manzini magistrate’s court where he was formally charged with sedition allegedly on an opinion he expressed during the Workers’ Day in Manzini. He was then remanded into custody pending his appearance at the High Court in Mbabane . Presently, he is kept at the Sidwashini Prison in Mbabane .
We are not surprised by this arrest. Information was already circulating two weeks ago that the necessary process was in motion by the state to have Cde Maseko detained. The alleged opinion he expressed is just a mere cover. It is a known fact that the state does not like Maseko because of his uncompromising stance against human rights abuse in Swaziland . Infact he has a very good record of fighting and winning against the state; and has never hesitated to take up a case against the state when it has political connotations. In short Cde Maseko is a fearless human rights lawyer who has always stood with oppressed people of Swaziland and forsakes the tempting riches that go with his profession.
By detaining Com Maseko, the state thinks it is settling scores with him and at the same time frustrate his clients. We are all aware that Maseko recently made a crucial presentation to the British government on the lack of democracy and the state’s abuse of human rights in Swaziland using the notorious Suppression of Terrorism Act of 2008. We are also aware that Cde Maseko recently represented the Swaziland Ex-Miners Association against the state’s disregard of its own palace constructed constitution by failing provide free education, a case he won hands down and the regime is not at all impressed. Presently, he is representing the PUDEMO President Mario Masuku on charges of sedition (so coincidental)!
The state should instead be arresting and tackling all the people involved in corruption and have contributed in the collapse of the country’s economy. It must also be telling the people of Swaziland when they will finally enjoy constitutional multiparty democracy; when are our exiles returning home; when will it repeal the abusive Suppression of Terrorism Act of 2008; and when are we going to see the people’s President and the people’s Lawyer walking free in the streets of Swaziland !
PUDEMO and the people of Swaziland shall always stand by Comrade Maseko in the fight for democracy in Swaziland .
Dep President – Sikhumbuzo Phakathi – =27 731427594 (South Africa)
National Spokesperson – Zakhele Mabuza - +268 607 3453 (Swaziland)