The rule of law, access to affective remedies and protection of human rights continue to deteriorate as a consequence of the further undermining of judicial independence in Swaziland. As a Swazi citizen I am disheartened to see the violation of human rights continue to escalate and political and human rights activists arrested and given unfair trials for wanting political reform and change.
In July 2014 Bheki Makhubu, editor of the Nation news magazine, human rights activist lawyer Thulani Maseko were sentenced two years in prison for publishing articles raising concerns about judicial independence and political accountability in Swaziland. The warrant used to arrest them issued by the Swaziland Chief Justice Michael Ramodibedi, subverted the normal legal process, they were detained a long time without trial, refused access to lawyers while in the police cells and refused medical treatment. This is awful and ridiculous treatment from the Swazi Government to convict innocent men for freedom of speech. When sentencing the two men the judge criticized their "disgusting conduct" for running a "defiance campaign" against the administration of justice, and with respect to Thulani Maseko, for "pursuing regime change".
Political and human rights activists were also detained in several separate trials involving charges under the Suppression of Terrorism Act 2008 and the Sedition and Subversive Act 1938. Mario Masuku, human rights activist and leader of Peoples United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO) and youth leader Maxwell Dlamini were also charged with sedition and remanded in custody in connection with slogans they allegedly shouted at a 2014 May Day rally. The Crisis in the rule of law and judicial independence continue to deteriorate under the Swazi government and dictatorship of King Mswati III, the rights to freedom of expression,freedom of assembly, freedom of association continue to be violated and people who oppose the system get severly punished. Unfair trials resulted in imprisonment for reasons of opinion and conscience. This is the reason I joined Swazi Vigil UK to raise awareness of these gross human rights violation in Swaziland and the world needs to know. As a member of Swazi Vigil UK and a concerned Swazi Citizen I will continue to campaign against the Swazi government and the wasteful royal monarchy until the world joins in and helps us ... Viva Swazi Vigil UK Viva!!!
By: Sifiso Cynthia Dlamini