6 November 2011
Maxwell Dlamini: don’t mourn over me
“It is very unfortunate that a brave young comrade like Maxwell Dlamini [President of the Swaziland National Union of Students] can be made to stay in prison while we need him outside to pursue the struggle of the Swazi people,” Sibusiso Nhlabatsi, President of the Students Representative Council at the University of Swaziland, tells Africa Contact. “But we remain motivated by his words: do not mourn and whine over me just pursue the course of democracy in Swaziland.”
Maxwell Dlamini was detained, and allegedly tortured, prior to the so-called April 12-Uprising in Swaziland earlier in the year. He was forced to sign a statement admitting possession of explosives and has been denied bail on several occasions. He subsequently stands accused of contravening Sections 8 and 9 of Swaziland’s Explosives Act 4 of 1961 – an accusation that several members of Swaziland’s democratic movement, as well as unions and solidarity organisations around the world, have described as preposterous.
Despite reports of Maxwell falling ill and hired South African police illegally interrogating him and his fellow accused, Musa Ngubeni, Maxwell is doing fine. “Maxwell in prison is fine,” Nhlabatsi says. “Those who check him from time to time say that his spirit is strong and he remains committed to his course.”
Talking about the prospects of Maxwell’s case being heard in a court of law, Nhlabatsi is less optimistic – both because of the well-known stalling tactics of the Swazi regime towards imprisoned democracy advocates, and because of an ongoing lawyer boycott against the lack of judicial independence and rule of law in the country.
“About his case it’s very disturbing. In Swaziland lawyers are currently on boycott and courts are grounded. Actually this situation has been going on for the past three months. So he can’t stand trial because there is no lawyer available.”