Friday, May 28, 2010


Swaziland’s illegally-appointed Prime Minister Barnabas Dlamini has made it clear that he is in charge of the kingdom’s police force and will use it against democracy activists.

Dlamini, who has an international reputation as an enemy of freedom and democracy, was explaining why dozens of police invaded the funeral of democracy activist Sipho Jele two weeks ago. Officers tore up pictures of the deceased man and confiscated banners belonging to opposition group, the People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO).

He said police would break up gatherings and make arrests even if no crime had been committed. The police just needed to believe that a crime might be committed.

Dlamini’s remarks at a gathering of the kingdom’s senior media people fly in the face of comments by Swaziland Commissioner of Police Isaac Magagula that the police were a service to the people of Swaziland and would treat people as ‘clients’ and with respect.

Dlamini told the meeting that police suspected crimes would be committed at Jele’s funeral so they broke it up.

‘At Jele’s funeral, the police would not just sit back and wait for something to happen first before responding to the situation. But they had to do something about the information brought by the Intelligence Branch,’ the Swazi Observer, the newspaper in effect owned by King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, reports him saying.

Dlamini said that at future funerals or other occasions if the Intelligence Branch happened to detect a security threat, police then they would attend to ‘ensure law and order’.

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