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