Sunday, November 16, 2008


The first prisoner has been taken in Swaziland King Mswati III’s war against his own people.

Mario Masuku, the president of the People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO), was arrested yesterday on terrorism charges after Swazi police raided his home.

Masuku was taken to Mbabane police station, where his lawyers were refused permission to speak to him in private.

The arrest came one day after Swaziland Prime Minister Barnabas Dlamini announced that PUDEMO and three other ‘political’ organisations were ‘terrorist’ organisations.

According to the Times Sunday today (16 November 2008) Masuku had been arrested under section 5 (2) of Act 3 of Suppression of Terrorism Act of 2008, which deals with the unlawful possession of literature on weapon-making, including ‘books, manuals, documents, pamphlets, drawings, diagrams, electronic storage devices and tapes’.

Details of the arrest are confused. The Times Sunday was unable to discover what the police were searching for or what (if anything) they found as the newspaper was denied entry into Masuku’s home during the raid.

Two lawyers who went to Mbabane police station to see Masuku were denied access to him by police officers.

The Times Sunday also reported that the Masuku family said Mario’s arrest was ‘an effort to deter the public from engaging in progressive thinking’.

The newspaper reported Masuku’s son Mzwandile saying, ‘We know the cause that our father has dedicated his life to and we support him all the way. We will never accept that he is a terrorist or all the other comrades in the struggle.’

Mzwandile added, ‘We are very assured that our father is fighting a good cause, which is liberating the people of Swaziland. All the hardship he is facing, we believe is part and parcel of his good cause, but we can’t run away from the fact that it’s hard and painful sometimes.’

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