PUDEMO – the People’s United Democratic Movement – is considered by many to be the main opposition party in Swaziland, which is ruled by King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch.
PUDEMO and all other political parties are banned in Swaziland.
The student, who has not been publicly identified but is believed to be studying in Form V, was taken in by police after he was spotted in the street wearing the T-Shirt.
The student’s guardian is reported to have accompanied him to the police station. He told the Swazi News, an independent newspaper in Swaziland, ‘I do not know what exactly went on while I was waiting outside but when the boy came out he was crying so much that he was not even been able to tell me what went on inside there.’
Swazi police have made a habit of intimidating supporters of political parties and have raided homes looking for material identified with banned organisations. In May 2010 Sipho Jele was arrested for wearing a PUDEMO T-Shirt and he died while in custody. An inquest has still to conclude into the manner of his death.