Anger at the Swazi Government’s decision to ban a march to raise awareness about the ritual murders that are hitting the kingdom is growing.
The Times of Swaziland today (3 July 2008) has likened the Swaziland government to that of Robert Mugabe’s in Zimbabwe and called the ban on the march ‘a threat to democracy’.
The Times was the newspaper that broke the story that the Swazi Cabinet had banned a march against the ritual murders because it would embarrass King Mswati III and might put Swaziland in a bad light internationally. Up to 20,000 people were expected to join the march due to take place this Saturday (5 July 2008).
Today, in an editorial comment, the Times said,
‘Swaziland, it seems could hardly wait to put to test such overriding power by throwing out an innocent request to stage a march against the sudden rise of ritual murders.
‘The response given to us is the fear that such a march could taint the country’s image and that it would be disrespectful to the king. How ridiculous! This is typical of a Mugabe regime that protects murderers.
‘Cabinet’s action has thrown full support to ritual murders in this country and, as pointed out by the Swaziland Coalition of Concerned Civic Organisation (SCCCO), this embarrassed His Majesty the King, who has repeatedly spoken out strongly against such evil acts and called upon everybody to join hands in ridding our society of these undesirable elements.
‘How dare they ban a nation against supporting the Ingwenyama! [King].
‘What has Cabinet got to hide? What is it that Cabinet knows that we don’t about these murders and who in the world does not know we host one of the world’s deadliest suspect serial killers?
‘What of people’s right to freedom of expression? Only people like Mugabe know of no existence of such rights but he certainly was not chairing this Cabinet session.
‘Cabinet has done extremely well in doing what they set out to avoid – tarnishing the image of the country and disrespecting the king.
‘We call on the Prime Minister Themba Dlamini to immediately withdraw the ban on the march before a march to his office demanding such withdrawal takes place and [he is] labelled a supporter of ritual murder.’
The Times also reported that civil society organisations, including the SCCCO, the Coordinating Assembly of Non-Governmental Organisations (CANGO) and the People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO) had condemned the ban.
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