Thursday, August 30, 2012


A ‘Top Secret’ document allegedly found in the pocket of convicted bomber Amos Mbedzi was at the centre of evidence leading to his conviction on sedition, murder, and other charges at the Swaziland High Court this week.
Media in the kingdom told us that it helped to show that Mbedzi and fellow conspirators were intent on advocating a violent revolution. They had, the court heard, wanted to blow up a bridge near the Lozitha royal residence, but the bomb they had in their car detonated prematurely. 

But, the media did not tell us what the document actually said. Why not? It was another case of media self-censorship. The document told the story of how King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, came to the throne. Unlike in other monarchies, his was not a clear succession from father to son. He came to power after deadly infighting at the palace and the ‘Top Secret’ document said so.

Here’s what High Court judge Bheki Maphalala said in his judgement.  ‘The document portrays a bitter political rivalry, division and deadly infighting within the Royal Household over the succession to King Sobhuza II, the Royal factions that emerged leading to the removal of Queen Regent Dzeliwe and the appointment of Queen Regent Ntombi, the emergence of PUDEMO [the now banned People’s United Democratic Movement] and its relationship with disgruntled Princes who were ambitious for the throne, the ongoing clandestine remnants of political maneouvers within the Royal House and a detailed critique of the country’s political dispensation as lacking in democratic governance.  

He went on, ‘The Top Secret Document was authored by PUDEMO and it exposed its relationship with the South African Communist Party and certain elements of the Royal House. The document concludes by calling for a violent revolution to remove the leadership from political power.’

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