Saturday, August 8, 2009


Swazi democrat Mario Masuku was defiant in court yesterday when he heard his trial on a charge of sedition will be heard next month.

A ‘pre trial’ hearing at the Swaziland High Court yesterday (7 August 2009) heard that Masuku, president of the banned People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO) would plead not guilty to a charge that he incited people to commit terrorism in a speech last November.

Masuku has been in jail on remand for 265 days so far.

Also appearing for a pre trial hearing was Amos Mbedzi, who is alleged to have been involved in a plot to bomb a bridge at Lozitha last September. He also intends to plead not guilty.

Both men were defiant in court yesterday. Messages describing their defiance were sent ‘live’ from the court by supporters via text messages and the Facebook social network.

Today, the Swazi News, (a stablemate of the Times of Swaziland, the kingdom’s only independent daily newspaper) reports that Masuku ‘is still as defiant and determined as ever’.

The newspaper reports that both Masuku and Mbedzi ‘seemed happy as they belted out smiles, cracked jokes and at one time, Mbedzi even attempted to do the customary toyi-toyi while chained in leg irons’.

Mbedzi appeared in court with scars and a badly damaged eye, injuries alleged to have been caused when a bomb he was helping to plant exploded prematurely.

More than 100 people attended the court, many of them from the Swaziland Youth Congress (SWAYOCO).

According to the Swazi News, ‘So defiant was the PUDEMO chief that after all the court processes, and while being taken to the Matsapha Correctional Services, he shouted to the people who had come to see him “Amandla” sending his followers, who had attempted to barricade the road that was going to be used to ferry Masuku away, to wild excitement. The SWAYOCO members then burst into songs about PUDEMO and Mario’

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