Monday, April 11, 2011


Swaziland’s police chief has warned protestors not to take to the streets tomorrow (12 April 2011) in an ‘illegal’ demonstration against the government.

Police Commissioner Isaac Magagula put the frighteners on the Swazi people by claiming – without offering any evidence in support – there was a chance of protestors engaging in acts of ‘sabotage’ and ‘terror’.

Claiming there are threats of ‘terrorism’ when there are not is a well-worn tactic of King Mswati III’s regimes. The King, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, and the governments he handpicks, have used the ploy many times in the past.

In 2008, they were able to pass the Suppression of Terrorism Act, which allows the government to label all opposition groups ‘terrorists’. The way the Act has been used to silence legitimate dissent has been roundly condemned by the international community.

In the latest move, Magagula told a press conference yesterday (10 April 2011), ‘We have credible information that the protest action is likely to be hijacked by faceless elements who have a hostile intent and the event will provide a perfect opportunity to such characters to perpetuate acts of sabotage and terror as opposed to the pursuit of socio-economic interests.’

The Swazi Observer, the newspaper in effect owned by King Mswati III, called it a ‘final warning’ to the demonstrators.

Magagula said the protests would not be in the best interests of national security, the newspaper reported.

It quotes him saying, ‘As the police empowered by the laws of the land, in particular the Public Order Act and constitution, to prevent the staging of any event that is likely to result in the breach of peace and compromise public order, safety and security, security forces will be all out to maintain law and order.’

The Observer said Magagula would not come out clear on what would happen if the unions go ahead with their proposed protest march.

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