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Thursday, 29 September 2011


Open Society Initiative of Southern Africa (OSISA)

29 September 2011


Swaziland abandons rule of law

King Mswati III has made his views about the rule of law crystal clear – there is no place for such a concept in his absolute monarchy.

The unjustified and indefensible sacking of High Court Judge Thomas Masuku demonstrates Mswati’s utter contempt for the rule of law. There is only one law in Swaziland – and that is the law of the King.

Judge Masuku is a well-respected judge in southern Africa – renowned for his independence and his firm belief in the separation of powers and the rule of law. For these reasons, he was slapped with a list of baseless charges three months ago by the newly-installed and Mswati-appointed Chief Justice, Michael Ramodibedi – and suspended from the bench.

In August, Masuku was hauled before a similarly farcical disciplinary tribunal in front of the Judicial Service Commission, which was chaired by none other than his accuser, Ramodibedi. The hearing was not conducted in compliance with fundamental principles of justice and fairness. The Chief Justice did not recuse himself even though he was acting as both accuser and judge. And there was no cross-examination of the ‘evidence’ against him.

Now it seems that the process has reached its intended conclusion with the sacking of Masuku, who has served as a High Court Judge since 1999.

It is another sign that King Mswati and his elite clique have no intention of moving Swaziland towards a democratic, fairer and more open society – despite the worsening economic crisis and growing pro-democracy protests. Indeed, this decision shows that they will use any means possible to silence critical voices.

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Swaziland Solidarity Network


29 September 2011


Justice Masuku fired by King Mswati

The Swaziland Solidarity Network condemns the continued interference into the judiciary by the Swazi Monarchy. It is disturbing to learn that Justice Thomas Masuku has since been fired after being falsely accused of insulting the king, among other things.

It is clear that the judge was removed from his post because of his incorruptibility, professionalism and courageous will to stick to the law. Mswati and his henchman, Barnabas Dlamini’s are merely continuing with their disrespect for the rule of law, and they need to be challenged.

This is no longer a matter only for the Law Society of Swaziland but for everyone in the country because it affects everyone.

It seems Mswati has not seen enough protests this year and needs to be countered with another, more militant one. Let us not disappoint him.

Issued by the Swaziland Solidarity Network [SSN]

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David Matse, the Swaziland Minister for Justice, has been fired from his job because he refused to sign a dismissal letter for High Court Judge Thomas Masuku.

Usually reliable sources say that Prince Mgwagwa was appointed acting Minister of Justice in Matse’s place and he duly signed the letter.

Judge Masuku is now officially sacked.

Matse has refused to comment publicly about his dismissal, but he did confirm to the Times of Swaziland today (29 September 2011) that he has been told to ‘stay at home’ until at least next Tuesday (4 October 2011) when Barnabas Dlamini, the Swazi Prime Minister, returns from a trip to the United States.

Judge Masuku has been at the centre of a controversy over attempts by Michael Ramodibedi, the Swaziland Chief Justice, to dismiss him for a number of alleged misconducts, including insulting King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch.

Lawyers in Swaziland have been boycotting courts for the past eight weeks in protest at the way Masuku has been treated. They also want the Chief Justice removed from office.

Representatives of the Law Society of Swaziland have been summoned to meet Liqoqo, the advisory committee for King Mswati today.

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Letter to the editor, Times of Swaziland

29 September 2011


There is no good reason to have corporal punishment anymore


This is a response to the feature article on corporal punishment, published in the Times on 27 September.

I had a teacher in primary school who used to abuse this privilege. He would make us put our heads under his desk, then he would whip our butts.

When reacting to that, we would raise our heads and hit the bottom of his desk. I still wish to meet him now and see if he can repeat those antics.

That was pure abuse. My boarding master in high school would beat us with a hosepipe. We are, and were not, animals.


That is termed ‘cruel and unusual punishment’. I would not like any teacher to lay hands on my child; if there are any problems I need to be called.

With all the things happening, sodomy and stuff, there are so many sick adults out there and I don’t know who to trust, period.

Leave my child alone and I will take care of it. Besides, why would you want to take on the responsibility of disciplining someone else’s child?

Most parents don’t discipline their children and they expect the teachers to do their work for them. Most children are raised by TV and video games and absent parents.

Then the teacher is expected to work out a miracle. Even the Bible says "let the wheat and tares grow together".


The parents who do their work at home will reap the rewards and those who don’t likewise.

You reap what you sow. Besides, children are crazy these days.

Just this week in my city a principal quit his job because a pupil brought a gun to school.

If I were a teacher I would not mess with anybody’s child.

These children are also crazy like their parents. It takes a village, my foot! Let’s face it; the world is changing.

These days, even your own children, you don’t just hit them. They were showing a 10-year-old on TV who shot and killed his father.


With all this social media and stuff, no one can truly say they know their children anymore, so slow down on the beating because you might be the one getting it.

Has any research really been done on corporal punishment? We have a university in Swaziland, we have learned people etc.

This has been an issue for a while. One former US President (John F Kennedy) said, "Ask not what your country can do for you, but ask what you can do for your country."

I am trying to prove, kutsi siyatoyitoya yet where we as individuals have an ability to make a difference we are lacking.


Bantfwana labatelwe batali labatoyitoyako vele will be violent.

So it is not only our children, natsi batali siyagula, our children have inherited our dysfunctions.

No matter how hard we hit them, unless we look for solutions, we are just marking time.

Maye mine, I enjoy a well-researched article. Next time, before writing such an article, just do more research and writing on it.

Make it a scholarly and appealing subject.

Pholile Mazibuko

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28 September 2011


Swaziland fires judge deemed critical of king: sources

MBABANE — Swaziland's King Mswati III has fired a judge seen as one of the only critical voices in the southern African kingdom's judiciary, a royal official said Wednesday (28 September 2011).

Judge Thomas Masuku had already been suspended from the bench in June and is facing a series of misdemeanour charges, including insulting Mswati in a 2010 ruling that used the phrase "forked tongue" in reference to the monarch.

"What we know is that the JSC (Judicial Service Commission) recommended he be fired, and given the fact that the terms of the suspension were only for three months, the king found it proper to endorse the decision of the JSC and fire the judge," said the source close to the palace, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Judicial Service Commission secretary Lorraine Hlophe said she could not comment.

The official told AFP that Justice Minister David Matse had also been suspended over the Masuku affair, which has sown divisions between Swaziland's lawyers and its judiciary.

Masuku was one of the few judges who dared to be critical of Mswati, Africa's last absolute monarch.

Swazi lawyers have been boycotting the country's courts in protest at his suspension, and the Swaziland Law Society has demanded the removal of Chief Justice Michael Ramodibedi for his handling of the matter.

Some 200 lawyers staged a protest last week to demand Ramodibedi be sacked.

Swaziland is currently reeling from a crippling financial crisis and growing discontent with Mswati, who is accused of bankrupting the country with his jet-set lifestyle and lavish spending on his 13 wives.

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