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Tuesday, 26 October 2010


Barnabas Dlamini, Swaziland’s illegally-appointed Prime Minister, reportedly told a delegation from the International Labour Organisation (ILO) that the report on the inquest on Sipho Jele was ‘eagerly awaited’.

The report was ‘imminent’ and as soon as the report was ready the ILO would be among the first to get a copy, he promised.

Doesn’t he sound a reasonable chap? Readers will know that Jele was at a May Day rally this year and all of a sudden the Swazi security forces hauled him in. Within days he had died in government custody.

An inquest was started and before we knew it police and prison officers were shown to be liars. A documents about Jele’s arrest had been forged and an independent pathologist cast doubts on the Swazi state’s official line that Jele had committed suicide.

The international community took an interest in Jele’s case. And then, all of a sudden the inquest was adjourned with no date set for it to be resumed.

And that’s where we stand.

The inquest hasn’t ended and there’s no plan to finish it.

Now, what is that Dlamini has just told the ILO? The publication of the inquest report is imminent. Sorry but that sounds like an outright lie to me. The report cannot be ready because the inquest isn’t over. Never mind about publishing a report, many of us would simply settle at the moment for the inquest to be resumed.

Prime Minister Dlamini must think we are fools. He can’t get away with telling any old rubbish to the ILO in the hope that they would take his word for it.

And what do the Swazi media think they are up to by reporting Dlamini’s statement as if it were true, after they devoted so much attention to Jele’s inquest while it was running.

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