Saturday, May 22, 2010

Swaziland, a state of lawlessness

In the wake of Cde Sipho Jele’s burial this morning, where the state and its royal police failed to disrupt the funeral, the police exhibited their frustrations on the innocent and humble PUDEMO President Mario Masuku. They quickly hatched an evil plan to detain him after the funeral.

A massive road block was hastily mounted at Luyengo, about 10 km from Jele’s home while three senior officers waited at home to monitor his movements. Upon reaching the road block, he was spotted, quickly detained and driven to Malkerns Police station. This is where he was interrogated in the presence of senior police officers namely a Mgabhi, Mbhamali, Jele, Mabuza, Dlamini and Mthembu who was leading the investigation.

He was interrogated for close to two hours while members of PUDEMO and labour leadership waited outside. Comrade Masuku was then informed that he was being charged under the Suppression of Communism Act of 2008 for supporting terrorism by shouting “viva PUDEMO, viva SWAYOCO’ at the funeral.

Subsequently, he was ordered to write a statement, but he refused. The investigating officers then proceeded to write a statement for him which according to Masuku was meaningless. They then consulted Head Quarters in Mbabane on his detention and charges. Fingerprints and all his particulars were then taken.

Throughout this ordeal, visitors were not allowed until the arrival of Mr Mnisi, a lawyer. The officers disappeared for a few minutes and upon their return, Mr Masuku was informed that he was being released to the custody of his wife Thembi and son Mzwandile. However, he was warned that summons will be sent to him anytime on a date that will be decided by them.

This act by the royal police is enough evidence that Swaziland has degenerated to a pitiful state of lawlessness emanating from poor governance by the ruling regime and this must be urgently addressed by the international community including SADC and the AU. We do not wish to go through the sad experiences of both Zimbabwe and Madagascar.

As PUDEMO, we strongly condemn this act of lawlessness perpetrated by the desperate regime using its police force. It is unheard of for one to be detained, charged and then allowed to go without being admitted to bail (even free bail) and then told summons will follow “in due course.” This is blatant abuse of human rights. We wonder what more must happen in Swaziland before the international community openly and strongly address this crisis in their forums.

This case alone clearly shows why the Suppression of Terrorism Act of 2008 was enacted. It was a tool meant to harass and suppress PUDEMO into submission and this is clearly failing! Why would the royal police pick on Mr Masuku and detain him for saying “viva PUDEMO, viva SWAYOCO”? The popularity of PUDEMO and its Youth League was so visible amongst the mourners who kept shouting the words throughout the night, but no the police decided to go for the PUDEMO President. This is a strategy of a confused state and must be strongly condemned. We call for the repeal of the Suppression of Terrorism Act of 2008 as it is an unjust law that is used not for state security, but for purposes of intimidating and suppressing dissenting voices in Swaziland.

Head of Publicity
Zakhele Mabuza +268 7607 3453


Following the disruption and stoppage of Cde Jele’s funeral ceremony last Sunday, PUDEMO wishes to report that the second attempt of his burial was successfully carried out in the early hours of this morning at his home area, Ncabaneni. This was done in the presence of the intimidating and hostile battalion of royal police.

True to the promise of PUDEMO, the ceremony was conducted on the terms set by us in consultation with the family and the labour movement in Swaziland . The state had expected that the ceremony would be conducted in a manner very alien to the known and accepted manner understood by the struggling masses of our country. Not going to court to seek an interdict was a political decision that was reached after serious and careful consultation to avoid giving the state the right to dictate how we should conduct the burial ceremony.

PUDEMO wishes to salute the following:

  • The Jele family that stood its ground in the face of a hostile intimidation by the royal police and the local traditional authority.
  • The labour and civic organizations that braved the state brutality and showed solidarity with both PUDEMO and Cde Jele in this fearful era under the Suppression of Terrorism Act. This sent a clear indication to the oppressive regime in Swaziland that the people are now prepared to challenge and defy all oppressive laws that are meant to entrench the hegemony of the royal regime in Swaziland .
  • The church, under the umbrella of the Council of Swaziland Churches for fearlessly standing by the oppressed masses in their hour of need with the understanding that a physically oppressed nation cannot be spiritually free.
  • The rural masses of Ncabaneni for their defiance of all the intimidation and threats to discourage them from attending Cde Jele’s funeral as he was branded a ‘political criminal.’

Now the people have grown to understand that Cde Jele and PUDEMO are not terrorists, but committed and humble people of Swaziland that wish to see their people living under democratic conditions that will fully guarantee them all their rights.



Head of Publicity

Zakhele Mabuza +268 7607 3453


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Killed for wearing his PUDEMO T-shirt

PUDEMO Media Release, 5 May 2010

Killed for wearing his PUDEMO T-shirt

The royal security agents in Swaziland have done it again

We report with great grief to all our comrades both at home and internationally that Comrade Sipho Jele has died, as usual in the hands of the police. Cde Sipho was detained on Workers Day for wearing a PUDEMO t-shirt in Manzini. Subsequently, the police took him to his home in Ncabaneni looking for his membership card and returned with him to custody. On the following day, Tuesday morning the police officers returned to report to his grandmother that he has died by coomiting suicide while in custody. We know this is incorrect. A lot of people in Swaziland have died in the hands of the police and fictitious stories fabricated. And the police were ordering the old woman to bury the comrade on the same day, Tuesday.

Next they will bribe the poor family to fabricate a story on Sipho's death which shall be in favour of the regime and its killer security agents. If they fail, they shall threaten the old lady with a lot of fearful things including being evicted from her home area.

The Swaziland royal regime has always been giving the international community the wrong information that political dissenters are not imprisoned, harrassed and killed. And that Swaziland is a peaceful country. But here is a political activist getting killed for attending Workers Day and wearing a PUDEMO t-shirt. These are the same tactics that were used during apartheid South Africa to silence political activists. It is high time the international community, especially SADC genuinely take up the issue of Swaziland. How many innocent people must die before the regional leadership comes out openly to condemn the Swaziland regime and demand for democratization? Do we need to experience massive deaths like it is happening in other countries to get the international community to act?

Cde Sipho is a former worker at Usuthu Pulp. He was currently among the 2006 awaiting treason trialists. He was also in the process of furthering himself academically. PUDEMO and its Youth League have lost a hard working and committed comrade in Sipho. May his soul rest in peace! He has not died in vain, but for the freedom and liberation of our oppressed masses under the arrogant tinkhundla royal regime.


Head of Publicity

+268 607 3453