Friday, December 19, 2008


The Swazi Government has denied forcing a human rights advocate to leave Swaziland.

James Mania, a political refugee from Kenya left Swaziland last week after being given an ultimatum to leave or be deported back to his home country.

According to the Times of Swaziland today (19 December 2008), when sought to comment on the circumstances leading to Mania’s leaving, ‘all the senior government officers who were implicated in the matter claimed ignorance of the issue’.

Mania was thrown out of Swaziland because he was involved in informing the international human rights watchdog Observatory for Human Rights Defenders about the violation of human rights and freedoms in the kingdom.

The Observatory alerted the international community about this and asked it to intervene in the prevailing situation in Swaziland.

Copies of the letter were also sent to the king’s office, the Prime Minister, the Ministry of Justice, the Attorney General as well as the country’s Permanent Representative to the UN.

According to the Times, police are said to have called Mania and informed him that he would be deported should he pursue this matter any further.

‘He was then forced to leave the country a few days later when the police allegedly gave him seven days to voluntarily leave the country or be deported. This was after it was alleged that the Attorney General’s office had been contacted by the United Nations (UN) Rapporteur on Human Rights about human rights violations in the country.

‘Secretary to Cabinet Sandile Ceko denied knowledge of the matter. He said he never received a letter about the issue. Ceko said if it was sent to the PM through his office, he might have sent it through without reading its contents. He stated, though that matters of human rights were normally dealt with by the Justice Ministry.

‘Justice Ministry Principal Secretary Sicelo Dlamini also said he could not recall the letter.

‘It was the same thing with Attorney General Majahenkhaba Dlamini, who denied knowledge of the matter.’

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