Monday, December 1, 2008


The Swazi Prime Minister’s branding of four political formations in Swaziland as terrorists is illegal, it has been revealed.

Barnabas Dlamini did not bother to follow the proper legal requirements before declaring that members and supporters of the four organisations were terrorists. Mario Masuku, president of the one of the groups – the People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO) - was immediately arrested (and is on remand in jail) following the prime minister’s announcement.

The Times Sunday reported yesterday (30 November 2008) that Dlamini’s pronouncement has no legal basis because there is no ‘legal instrument’ for the proscribing of PUDEMO, Swaziland Youth Congress (SWAYOCO), Swaziland Solidarity Network (SSN) and Swaziland Liberation Army (Umbane).

The ‘legal instrument’ would be a formal publishing or ‘gazetting’ of the decision.

Investigations made by the newspaper discovered that government printers had not yet received a sample of the gazette for printing purposes. The verbal pronouncement by the premier, the Times Sunday said, cannot outweigh the legal significance of the gazette.

Attorney General Majahenkhaba Dlamini said he was aware of the legal requirement to legitimise the pronouncement in the Gazette.

Legal sources within government said the prime minister’s pronouncement of 14 November 2008 had created uncertainties within the office of the attorney general as the Suppression of Terrorism Act, 2008, under which the parties were specified or alternatively banned, could be rendered meaningless if the banned entities were to appeal to the High Court.

Investigations by the Times Sunday revealed that the problem was worsened by the fact that the Suppression of the Terrorism Act allowed prescribed entities like the banned political parties to apply to the High Court for a review of the decision.

No comments: