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Wednesday, 30 June 2010

RURAL RAIDS ON FREEDOM ACTIVISTS

Swazi police have intensified their raids against pro-democracy activists in Swaziland.


This follows previous raids on members of the Peoples’ United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO), its youth wing, SWAYOCO, the Swaziland Coalition of Concerned Civic Organisations (SCCCO), the Swaziland Democracy Campaign (SDC), the Swaziland Federation of Trade Unions (SFTU), Swaziland Ex-Mineworkers Association, (SEMA) the Foundation for Socio-Economic Justice (FSEJ) and the Swaziland National Union of Students (SNUS).


The latest raids have struck in the deep rural poverty stricken Hluti-Lavumisa area.


The following is the latest news from Swaziland.


SOURCE


Following strict orders to strangle all democracy activists and boosted by the recent demands by the illegally-appointed Prime minister of Swaziland, Barnabas Dlamini to make arrests on the recent bombings that have shocked Swaziland, the Swazi police have intensified their raids on homes of PUDEMO leaders. Over the past weekend (26 – 27 June 2010) the raids were taken into the deep rural poverty stricken Hluti-Lavumisa area, the home area of PUDEMO Deputy President Skhumbuzo Phakathi. A number of homes were raided in the area.

Skhumbuzo Phakathi: the police arrived in a truck load armed to the teeth. They were in possession of a search warrant which said they were looking for bombs, seditious material and bomb making material and anything with terrorist links. Phakathi was not at home as he is based in South Africa. The police interrogated his father who told them he does not know where his sons are.

The police were also looking for Sizwesandile Phakathi the younger brother of the Deputy President who is former Publicity Secretary of SWAYOCO and current President of the South African Students Union (SAUS) and National Executive Committee member of SASCO. He was also not at home as he has been in exile since 1998.

Zweli Nxumalo: The police proceeded to the home of Zweli Nxumalo former Deputy President of the Swaziland Nurses Union which is situated five km from Phakathi’s home.. They also searched every house, in the process intimidating and harassing his mother. They said they were looking for guns and bombs. They found nothing illegal and Zweli was out
with his wife.

Norman Xaba: Again they did not find him at home but continued to search the houses and harassed his sisters Sbongile and Nombuso. Xaba is currently out on bail for being arrested for wearing a PUDEMO t-shirt last year. On several occasions they threatened that they will kill him. On a number of occasions he has been receiving death threats on his mobile phone. Xaba is the Deputy Chairperson of the rural Shiselweni region of PUDEMO.


Xolani Sbiya: The police raided the home which is also the home of the local induna (headman). They harassed his mother and took her to the Hluti police station where she was interrogated for over three hours on the activities of her son in SWAYOCO and in connection with the bombings. At the time of the raid Xolani was away. The police informed the sickly old woman that if she does not cooperate with them they will arrest her for her sons’ sins. She refused to cooperate.


Pastor Gadlaza Phakathi: The pastor was raided for allegations that he is harbouring PUDEMO activists. At the time of the raid he was out doing church work. At home the police harassed his blind mother telling her that his son will soon be in heaven.


Kholekile Macu: The PUDEMO women’s league executive in the Hluti area was woken up by loud bangs on her door. Her home was completely surrounded by heavily armed police. They searched every house and even the pit toilets. They accuse her and her husband of being ‘terrorists’ and keeping PUDEMO weapons. The police threatened the crippled Bheki Macu, the husband that if he continued with belonging to PUDEMO they will cut his other leg. They found nothing.


Bongani Ndzinisa: Who is also an official of the union SPRAWU His whole family was threatened that if he does not stop his association with PUDEMO everyone in the family will be killed. He was also summoned to the chief’s home. The induna promised to deal with the matter as Bongani is a well known man in the area and is a respected leader of the church.


Many other homes were raided in the Lavumisa area which links with the eastern sugar belt of Swaziland. The Swaziland Democracy Campaign (SDC) condemns this continued harassment of the people of Swaziland. We call on the international community to condemn Swaziland continued violation of human rights. We will continue to work with the pro democracy forces of Swaziland to bring change in that country.

As it stands now, anyone who will be arrested will not get bail as the Swazi government is working to make into law detention without trial.

Monday, 28 June 2010

POLICE MURDER THREAT CONDEMNED

The Swaziland Solidarity Network (SSN) has condemned Swazi police for threatening to murder a suspect of recent petrol bottle attacks.

It also condemned in the ‘strongest term possible’ that senior police have refused to investigate the case.

News broke yesterday (27 June 2010) that Swazi police had threatened the life of Brian ‘Slovo’ Shaw and told his mother to get a coffin and mourning gowns ready because they would kill Shaw if they found him.

SSN said in a statement, ‘This is a serious case of emotional harassment on an innocent elderly citizen and it cannot go unpunished’.

SSN said Shaw was one of the surviving 15 suspects who are out on bail following their apprehension by the police in 2005 in connection with a series of petrol bottle attacks.

‘He is also one of the nine amongst these who complained in court about the constant torture that the police were meting out on them. This behaviour by the Swazi police is not new as they allegedly also tell the parents of other exiled activists that they will only return to Swaziland in coffins. The mother of the late Deputy President of PUDEMO, Dr Gabriel Mkhumane, was also subjected to these inhumane remarks way before he was murdered in mysterious circumstances in April 2008.’

Swazi police have denied the threats against Shaw took place and are not investigating the matter.

Sunday, 27 June 2010

POLICE THREATEN TO MURDER SUSPECT

Swazi police have threatened to murder a man they believe to be responsible for petrol bottle attacks in the kingdom.


They have warned the man’s mother to buy a coffin and mourning gown to prepare for the funeral of her son.


Police are searching for Brian ‘Slovo’ Shaw and have been staking out the home of his mother, Mbonane Sabbath Mavuso, aged 61.


Shaw, a member of the banned Swaziland Youth Congress (SWAYOCO), is on the police wanted list following the recent series of petrol bottle attacks.


Mavuso told the Times Sunday, an independent newspaper in Swaziland, police visited her last Tuesday (22 June 2010).


‘They arrived at around 7am and were armed,’ she said.


‘Some of them were in uniform while others were not. They told me that they were looking for Brian and I told them he was not here.’


She said police told her she had to buy a coffin and mourning gown as her son would be killed.


‘The police are out to kill him. They have told me several times that he would be killed.’


She said at each visit the police terrorised her, saying she knew where Shaw was.


‘I am just tired of this life. These people have been terrorising me for something I do not know. I am not too sure my son deserves to die in this manner. If they feel he has done something wrong, they should allow the law to take its course, not to kill him,’ she said.


The Times Sunday reports that in 2006 police tortured Shaw after he was arrested on petrol bottle charges.


Shaw was shot in the elbow and arm by police when he tried to evade arrest.


After his arrest, he filed an affidavit at the High Court, saying he, together with nine of 16 suspects, were severely tortured by police officers led by the late Senior Superintendent Khethokwakhe Ndlangamandla. Shaw said he was held down on a bench and suffocated with a rubber tube until he became unconscious.


Last Month (May 2010), Sipho Jele, died in custody in suspicious circumstances after he was arrested for wearing a T-shirt supporting the banned People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO).

Saturday, 26 June 2010

PM TO LOCK UP ENEMIES WITHOUT BAIL

Barnabas Dlamini, the illegally-appointed Prime Minister of Swaziland, has confirmed his government is to create a law to deny suspects bail when they appear in court.


Dlamini, who has an international reputation as an enemy of freedom and human rights, told a meeting of editors in Swaziland there was nothing wrong with the proposed legislation because other countries had been keeping terrorist suspects in jail for close to 10 years without trial.


Dlamini, appointed by King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, with a mandate to crush the pro-democracy movement in the kingdom, also sent a warning to supporters of freedom.


He has told his police force to arrest anyone seen supporting banned organisations, such as the People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO) or its youth wing, SWAYOCO.


He is particularly incensed by people who defy him by wearing T-shirts that support Swazi-based organisations that he has banned.


He said, ‘Let those T-shirts be got rid of because if we find them we will ask where you got them and why you are keeping them.’


In a clear threat to the pro-democracy movement in Swaziland, he said up to now he was lenient in treating people linked with terrorist entities. In some countries, he warned, such individuals were immediately locked up once identified.


‘Once you are linked to terrorism you are locked up, never to see the sun again,’ he said.


Dlamini and his government have been attacked in the international community for using a new Suppression of Terrorism Act to silence dissent in the kingdom.

SWAZILAND CLOSE TO POLICE STATE

Swaziland is on its way to becoming ‘a full blown police state with no privacy and no enforceable human rights’.


And that means the Swaziland Government, ‘an overbearing and repressive regime’ will be a problem for all Swazi people, the Swazi News, an independent newspaper reports today (26 June 2010).


The present government seems to think that the organs of state are their personal tools to do whatever they please, writes AT Dlamini in his weekly column.


To read more click here.