Sunday, October 25, 2009


Mario Masuku, the president of the banned People’s United Democratic Movement, has accused the Swaziland state of sponsoring terrorism.

Masuku, writing in the Times Sunday, says that ordinary Swazi people have to resort to extreme ways to combat the authoritarian state ruled by King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch.

‘The struggle that culminated to the brutal torture, beatings and arrests of comrades and innocent citizens has been a protracted one. It is a national democratic revolution that builds up from phase to phase and level to level and is characterized by the obtaining conditions.’

He goes on, ‘I fear and view with scorn a regime’s stance to a coercive self-censorship and in the case of the electronic media houses in the face of intimidation and state sponsored terrorism. I have learnt that the only thing a tolerant society cannot tolerate is intolerance. Independence of the media is the corner stone of a developing democracy, and anyone with a diverging view must not be uprooted or ostracized, but must be allowed to co-exist.’

Masuku also gives details of the circumstances of his arrest on trumped-up terrorism and sedition charges. He says he was ‘shoved into a dark, flea infested, dirty and smelly cell’.

Later, he spent the night ‘sleeping on the floor in a mosquito infested 3x3 metre cell with no window-pane-less.’

In maximum security prison he was ‘locked in day and night’

He goes on to recount a typical day in prison.

To read the full article, click here.

Mario Masuku is president of the People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO) in Swaziland, a political formation banned in the kingdom ruled by King Mwsati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch.

Masuku was on remand in jail from November 2008 to September 2009 on charges of terrorism and sedition. When he eventually appeared in court, the Swaziland High Court judge threw out the case after five hours of a trial expected to last several days. The judge called the prosecution case ‘hopeless.’

This article appeared on 11 October 2009 in the Times Sunday, part of the only newspaper group in Swaziland free of direct government control.

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