We will not be silent – Speaking is not criminal!
As a Swazi living in the UK I am saddened and even embarrassed by what is happening in my country of birth. Swaziland is the last absolute monarchy, King Mswati III rules with an iron hand, political parties remained banned, criticizing the government is illegal. And courts suppress free speech, in February this year 2014 Lawyer Thulani Maseko and journalist Bheki Makhubu published articles on the king’s control of courts they were charged with contempt of court and thrown into jail. Reading everyday about fellow Swazis and comrades jailed by the draconian Swazi regime for their calls for freedom of expression and association in Swaziland cannot be ignored. These prisoners of conscience have been incarcerated for demanding full democratization of our beloved country.
In Swaziland, dissenting and opposing voices are silenced, harassed and thrown into jail. The system of government is based on one man with all political authority, which is sanctioned by the constitution; this is the supreme law of the land. Section 79 of the 2005 Constitution prohibits the lawful existence and recognition of political parties, which effectively undermines democracy and democratic governance. This management is not only contrary to developments in Africa post-1990, but it is absolutely at variance with international human rights standards and international laws.
The lack of freedom of assembly and speech is ruining the country and I refuse to sit and do nothing about it, I am glad that living in the UK and being a member of Swazi Vigil UK has given us the platform to express our opinions about what is happening in Swaziland without the fear of persecution. The majority of Swazis are tapped by fear of losing their jobs and persecution if they identify with the struggle but we have the opportunity to freely expose the corruption in Swaziland by Mswati III and his regime.
Democracy in SD is not taken seriously by the government and anyone who opposes the present government is dealt with heavily. The reaction of the Prime Minister to the Unionists who went to the US (Washington) during the US-African Leaders Summit hosted by President Barack Obama, the Prime Minister Sibusiso Barnabas Dlamini used very harsh words and said they will be ‘strangled.’ One then wonders is there something the world doesn’t have to know about Swaziland kutsi sekungaze kukhanywe bantfu?
If you are a Political activist in Swaziland you are seen as a ‘troublemaker’ you end up being evicted, lose scholarship if at the University, lose your job, or denied jobs, you are made to pay the price heavily in many ways. We cannot remain silent about this!
The time for action and to fight evil is now and it all begins with individuals committing to overcoming the fear barrier. Through a platform like Swazi Vigil UK I have the opportunity actively campaign against corruption and fight for freedom.
Its appalling to see how the country is treating PUDEMO’s Mario Masuku by denying him access to legal representation and medical attention by the officials of Mswati’s Correctional Services. The complete disregard of the of the law by officials claiming that they are following orders seems to be a growing trend especially where political activists are concerned. This is a gross abuse of human rights in Swaziland and cannot be ignored anymore. I am saddened and outraged by the manner in which Masuku who has been leading the effort to fight for the freedom of the Swazi people by speaking the truth to power has been victimised by the authorities.
The communities do not want to be seen to be supportive of activists, they live in constant fear. People say Swazis are quiet but the truth is Swazis are scared and fearful of the regime. A few months ago in the community of KaLuhleko where there is a chieftaincy dispute, old people in their 70s were taken into interrogation by the police and strangled, harassed and tortured. It is sad to see the highest form of cruelty used on old and helpless citizens. The police are not scared to use any tools of intimidation to silence anyone who speaks out for democracy. Swaziland does not respect Human rights and there is absolutely no freedom of speech at all. You are only free to speak if what you speak pleases the king. If not, you will be quickly silenced by the Suppression of Terrorism Act 2008, Public Order Act 1963, Sedition and Subversive Activities Act 1938.
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH !!!! If there is any need for collective action, that time is now! We cannot sit around and watch the country go up in flames. We need to show our support in a practical way. And it begins with individual Swazis all over the world committing to overcoming the fear barrier. Creating awareness wherever we are. We have to fight the evil today. We cannot therefore remain silent! Viva Swazi Vigil UK Viva!!!
NOMPUMELELO CHRISTABEL MAGAGULA
- Parent Category: News
Every other Saturday from 10.00 - 13.00
Swaziland Vigil Mission Statement:
The Vigil, outside the Swaziland High Commission, London, will take place every other Saturday from 10.00 to 13.00 to protest against gross violations of human rights by the current regime in Swaziland.
The Vigil will continue until there is respect for human rights and democracy in Swaziland.
- Parent Category: About the Vigil
Persecution of the Evangelical Lutheran Church In Swaziland
The violation of human rights by the Tinkhundla System of government in Swaziland has stooped to appalling lows with such freedoms as the freedom of association breached to the lengths of blocking Christians from entering a church to worship and fellowship. This was witnessed by the local congregants of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, Mbabane branch situated at kaSchiele mission in Tembelihle, who were joined by members of the civic society on the 31st October 2011 and 15th October 2012. This was a peaceful gathering for a prayer service which was to be led by Bishop Absalom Mnisi and Reverend Zwanini Shabalala, all this was done to request a divine intervention to the swiftly declining standards of living in Swaziland caused by among the main factors the intolerance of the government and the monarchy towards the citizens of the country.
This was not to be as on this day an army of 200 members of the joint forces, Royal Swaziland Police and Correctional Services descended on the kaSchiele mission led by the Regional Commander and categorically stated that in no uncertain terms was there to be a prayer service in the church or anywhere within the mission for that matter. As Reverend Z Shabalala commented in his article in relation to the incident entitled “Are We Mocking God”, the people of Swaziland have nobody but God to cry to as the monarchy and government have turned a deaf ear to all their please, but when they are prevented from exercising their right to pray, what more can they do.
This is one of the reasons why I have chosen to join the Swazi Vigil in the United Kingdom and condemn these violations of fundamental human rights in my country Swaziland, the Mbabane Evangelical Lutheran Church happens to be the church I was baptised in as a toddler and grew up attending and even preached in as a lay preacher, it really greaves my heart when the Bishop Right Reverend A Mnisi has turned into a criminal who is constantly under police surveillance just because he has opted not to discriminate political activists from the church. This is a religious minister simply responding to his call to preach the gospel of Christ. The church itself has drawn so much interest from the police who are constantly monitoring every single activity, even one of the church members who joined the police force has been turned into an investigator , whenever he attends a service he is expected to take notes and report back to his superiors of any suspicious members of the congregation. It is an appalling shame and gross violation of the right to religion enshrined in the bill of rights of the current constitution in Swaziland.