Saturday, November 22, 2008


A Swazi Constitutional Law expert says the Suppression of Terrorism Act ‘erodes the gains we had made through the constitution’.

Maxine Langwenya, a lecturer at the University of Swaziland, says that the new Act takes away the civil liberties of the people, when those liberties are entrenched in the Bill of Rights.

She said the Act tended to supersede the Bill of Rights which guarantees the rights of the populace.

‘For example, when arrested under the provisions of this law, you cannot be brought into a court of law within the 48 hours stipulated in the Constitution. The Act has provisions that work against the Constitution as regards to this. There is also another problem, that of definition. If terrorism causes death, then what does murder do. Couldn’t we have continued to charge such people with murder, or is it because our criminal justice has failed.

Langwenya is featured in a report in the Weekend Observer today (22 November 2008).

She says the introduction of the terrorism law was a bit heavy-handed because there were other already existing laws in Swaziland that could deal with the present unrest in the kingdom and they have been working fine up to now.

According to the Weekend Observer, ‘Langwenya wondered if there was any difference between terrorism and treason.

‘Was there a need to adopt such a high profile word without even exhausting the present legislation? This is why I feel that this law cancels most of the rights that are bestowed to the individual by the Constitution including the gains made thereof,’ she said.

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