The Times of Swaziland, the kingdom’s only independent daily newspaper, has called on the police and correctional services to ‘come clean’ over the death in jail of democracy activist Sipho Jele and to show that Swaziland does not have ‘blood on its hands.’
This is part of what Times’ editor Mbongeni Mbingo wrote.
I also am however, getting quite worked up as I think about another death—that of the PUDEMO member Sipho Jele, who apparently committed suicide. His death is a very big blow for this country; and increases the pressure from the international community for this country to democratise.
Jele’s death is no doubt under very strange, if not mysterious circumstances. The correctional services needs to come out clear, as well as government, on what happened here—and why it happened. What has raised further suspicions is the very thing of the police apparently putting pressure on the family of the deceased to bury him soon. Why would they want him buried soon—what is there to hide?
Do the police have anything to hide—and if they did, why did they have to show it by asking the family to bury the deceased? It says to me that these officers either underestimated the family or they are simply stupid, or alternatively, again playing to the conspiracy theory that some people have their own agendas, knew what they were doing and the message they were sending.
Otherwise it is hard to understand why a police officer, knowing fully well that the death of a person who had just committed suicide, a member of a progressive party, would become the subject of much debate and perhaps a lot of speculation.
Therefore, because there would be a lot said, the officers need to do everything by the book.
But our officers seem to think they are above the law, so here again, they rushed straight to the family to rush them to bury their loved one—how insensitive, and how silly.
The commissioner once more must be challenged, along with that of the correctional services, to give us answers leading to this man’s death. We want to know how he was left alone, to die. We want to know why he died. We want to know why he committed suicide—if he committed suicide. We want to know why he was there.
This is not just an ordinary death, or suicide, so there will be a lot of spotlight on the country as a result; and we need to know if our government did not play a hand in this. There already is enough said by the organisation this man was affiliated to, so we want the truth.
If this country can ever hope to avoid the constant spectre of criticism from the international committee and show that it is a deserving member of the global ‘democratic’ community, it needs to demonstrate that it does not have blood on its hands in this.
And if this was not suicide, we need to know.