Sunday, January 25, 2009


More details are emerging of the arrest of Zodwa Mkhonta, a leading activist of the People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO), who was taken in by police on Friday for questioning under the Suppression of Terrorism Act.

Mkhonta’s son, Stephen Noge, was detained on Thursday (22 January 2009) at the Mbabane Police Station, accused of distributing leaflets from the banned organisation PUDEMO to patients at the Mbabane Government Hospital.

Noge said he had gone to the hospital to visit a sick relative and on the way he had found the leaflets outside the town library. He did not read them and didn’t know they were from the PUDEMO.

When he arrived at the hospital he was surprised to find police officers waiting. They questioned him over the leaflets and took him to the police station, where he was held overnight. Police interrogated him in an attempt to discover the names of people connected with ‘terrorist’ organisations in Swaziland.

Police refused to allow Noge to contact relatives to let them know he had been arrested.

According to a report in the Times Sunday today (25 January 2009), on Friday morning police went to his homestead at Thembelihle where they searched for political documents. They found old ones from PUDEMO that were used by Noge’s father Simon who is now based in South Africa. Noge said his mother and relatives (eight in all) were taken to the police station for questioning.

He told the newspaper that he and his family were released because police had not completed their investigations.

Zodwa Mkhonta, a leading activist in PUDEMO and a former trade union leader, accused the police of harassing her family. She said they accused them of being terrorists. ‘It’s really a cause for concern to us that we are being harassed in our home country,’ she said.

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