Just as some senior church leaders in Swaziland are saying that they should keep out of politics comes news that Archbishop Buti Tlhagale, President of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference has voiced concerns over the death in jail of Swazi democracy activist Sipho Jele.
Tlhagale says the circumstances of Jele’s death, ‘reminds us of apartheid tactics that were used against those who were challenging the status quo in South Africa’.
The Independent Catholic News reports Tlhagale saying that since Swaziland’s constitution came into effect in 2006 state repression has increased.
Tlhagale says, ‘As President of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference, I have written to President Zuma to ask the South African government to take part in normalising the situation before it resembles what happened in Zimbabwe. I have asked President Zuma to consider a mediating role to facilitate a climate of dialogue among all stakeholders in Swaziland.
‘We as the Bishops of Southern Africa support the call by our brother, Bishop Louis Ncamiso Ndlovu of Manzini, Swaziland for the creation of a climate of dialogue between all parties concerned, including the government. We also support and endorse his call for an independent body to be put in place to hold the inquest into the cause of death of Sipho Jele.’