Sunday, July 3, 2011


Times Sunday, Swaziland

3 July 2011

The response from newspaper readers in Swaziland to Judge Masuku’s suspension ‘has been overwhelming, with most viewing this unexpected development as a turning point (unfortunately for the worst) in our judiciary. Some of the letters and comments pouring in have been unusable because the writers are understandably agitated, shocked and worried,’ says Innocent Maphalala editor of the Times Sunday.

Here is one letter he felt able to publish.


Actually, Masuku protected the King


I have had the opportunity to re-read the wording of Judge Masuku’s verdict. It’s now the subject of one of several sins levelled against him by the Chief Justice.

My careful reading of the verdict leads me to conclude that, contrary to the CJ’s views, Judge Masuku actually deserves a medal instead.

For what in particular? For upholding the esteemed office of the King in high regard.

In the verdict, the judge hails our King as a true statesman who espouses the principles of justice for all, a King who discourages anyone from taking justice into their own hands without due process of law. To substantiate his views, the good judge rightfully goes to the extent of quoting His Majesty’s many speeches where he had discouraged such unlawful acts, not only once, but many times. The Judge concludes by saying it is therefore inconceivable that the King may have authorised the unlawful dispossession of an ordinary man’s cattle without His Majesty’s courts having ruled for, or against the matter, whatever the case maybe.

In other words, the judge says the King is a statesman who always says what he means, and people’s actions (especially those of the police) shouldn’t misrepresent him, or make him appear as contradicting himself. My question is: what’s insulting about that? To me it makes the King look good. Judge Masuku used very good English and the CJ is likely to have made a mistake in translation, I mean when interpreting English into seSotho or into SiSwati because, like all of us, English is also his second language. I know in Swaziland, English is a passing subject, but I’m not too sure about Lesotho. I’d like to think this is a classic case of Lost in Translation, but it doesn’t look deliberate, unless my understanding of English is also just as bad.

The CJ is a good man with good intentions and I’m sure the PM can vouch for him. Another thing which doesn’t sit well with me is that the CJ, through the charges against the judge, has actually elevated himself to be the only true son of Swaziland, even above the Swazi Judge, and by extension all indigenous Swazis.

I wonder how baSothos would take a Swazi working in Lesotho telling one of the most respected basotho citizens there that his behaviour is insulting to His Majesty King Letsie?

Wouldn’t that sound vulgar or at least patronising?

In fact I even doubt the King of Lesotho would take it well either. Like any leader in the world, I’m sure he’d take exception to any foreigner trying to divide his nationals on patriotic grounds.

Most people there would ask, ‘who are you to say this about our own’? We are proud and we love our Swazi King, no doubt about that. I suppose the CJ loves his king in Lesotho too.

As in my home here, I’d be angry if my adopted brother were to tell me I hate my own ‘real’ father.

The second charge is that of an alleged affair, which is essentially a moral issue.

Why hasn’t the female Judge been charged? How do you prove the existence of a love affair?

The judges who take a drink here and there, will they be charged also for breaking a moral code? How about the judges who have relationships, if any, outside of marriage? I’m just asking the question of ’what if’? How about polygamists in the bench, if they’re there?

Why punish a Swazi for having humble ambitions of becoming a CJ one day? Is it wrong to have aspirations?

Very soon, people will be charged for contravening the sanitary laws, like forgetting to flush the toilet after using it.

The CJ has opened a can of worms here and it will hurt all Swazis.

I’ve a feeling the CJ will be enjoying his Swazi-acquired retirement benefits in the Mountain Kingdom when we begin to turn against each other because of this decision.

Honourbale CJ, please reconsider Sir.

Judge Masuku (and Phesheya -Ambassador) once successfully defended the PM against his alleged illicit affair with a prominent banker.

Today the judge has to defend himself against the same charge, and the irony is that the charges against him are likely to reach the PM’s office somehow. I say this because it is imporobable that the CJ would do anything this bold without the support of, or prompting by, the head of government generally. The judge must use the same arguments he used to successfully defend the PM, except that most people would vouch for the integrity of the judge.

Lastly, I would like to congratulate judge Bheki Maphalala for being promoted after only two years of experience in the bench.

He broke a record which even highly respected and internationally reputable judges before him failed to achieve.

We congratulate him. His record in the bench speaks for itself very loudly, at least to those who care to follow events in Swaziland. We must congratulate the wisdom of government too, because it’s through their support that he’s been promoted.

To the other judges, I’d like to say you can only lose something that you have but you cannot lose what you are. What you are is far important to God than man-made titles which often come with conditions which are out of step with your values.

Just when the land issue had died down, now we have to deal with the chaos in the judiciary. Will this persistent commotion ever end?


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