Thursday, August 15, 2019

Swaziland State wants activist who tried to prosecute absolute monarch to take mental tests

State prosecutors in Swaziland / eSwatini want to have a political activist who tried to have absolute monarch King Mswati III prosecuted by the High Court on embezzlement and other alleged crimes taken away for mental evaluation.

Goodwill Sibiya took out papers in January 2019 and had them accepted by police before he took them to the High Court. He was arrested and charged under the Suppression of Terrorism and Sedition and Subversive Activities acts.

Now, media in Swaziland are reporting that an application has been made for Sibiya to be forced to undertake psychiatric tests. A case in the High Court against Sibiya has already started.

He is charged on two counts. In the first, he is alleged to have professed to be a member the People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO) and the Communist Party of Swaziland which are banned under the Suppression of Terrorism Act. He is also charged with being a member of the South African Economic Freedom Guerrillas.

In the second count, Sibiya is alleged to have unlawfully attested to an affidavit containing ‘falsehoods’ with the intention to bring into hatred or contempt or to excite disaffection against the King in breach of the Sedition and Subversive Activities Act.

Media in Swaziland are not reporting the contents of that affidavit. In his legal statement Sibiya called for the King to be charged for the ‘embezzlement of states funds’ through his use of money generated by Tibiyo Taka Ngwane, a conglomerate of businesses that is controlled by the King on behalf of the Swazi people; mining royalties and income from MTN the mobile phone company.

In a list of accusations, Sibiya said the King stripped the powers of two chiefs to the benefit of his brother Prince Maguga. The King forcefully grabbed young girls to be his wives and the King appointed Barnabas Dlamini as Prime Minister in contravention of the constitution, ‘so that he can meet his own greedy interest’.

The statement made at the Nhlangano police station was dated 21 January 2019. Sibiya attempted to file the document at the High Court on 21 May 2019, but was stopped by staff members who then informed the police.

Police raided Sibiya’s home with a warrant searching for documents that brought ‘hatred to and incited dissatisfaction against the King’. Sibiya was arrested.

In Swaziland, King Mswati rules as an absolute monarch, political parties are banned from taking part in elections and he chooses the prime minister and government members. He is immune from any prosecution under s11 of the Swaziland Constitution.

Opposition to the King is crushed by use of the Suppression of Terrorism Act and the Sedition and Subversive Activities Act. Both Acts have been used to stop advocates for democratic reform.

In September 2016, the Swaziland High Court ruled parts of the two Acts were unconstitutional. The Government appealed the case to the Supreme Court
and it has yet to be heard.

See also

Swaziland fails human rights test

Swaziland quizzed on terror law

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