Police officers, some of them plain clothed, infiltrated a memorial service in Swaziland for Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. They were there to watch political activists who had gathered in her memory.
During the service at the Manzini Cathedral on Wednesday (11 April 2018) speakers condemned police violence.
Swaziland is ruled by King Mswati III as sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch. Political parties are not allowed to contest elections and groups that advocate for multiparty democracy have been banned under the Suppression of Terrorism Act.
The Swazi Observer, a newspaper in effect owned by the King, reported on Thursday (12 April 2018), ‘During the memorial service, plain clothed police officers were spotted inside the Cathedral and while the speakers continued delivering their speeches, more officers entered the arena but this time around it was officers in full uniform. Political activist Mphandlana Shongwe, who was the Programme Director, welcomed the officers to the arena, calling them tormentors.’
The newspaper also reported that Ntombi Nkosi, one of the organises of the memorial service, spoke of how she was throttled by members of the Royal Swaziland Police (RSP) who banged her head against a wall and broke both her legs.
The newspaper reported, ‘Nkosi said this was during a strike action dubbed “Waya Waya” by members of the Swaziland National Teachers Association (SNAT) in 2012. She said three armed officers attacked her along the street while she was near Green Valley.
‘She said her crime was wearing a Ngwane National Liberation Congress (NNLC) T-shirt and headscarf.
‘She said the assault left her disabled for life as she cannot even get into a bathtub without assistance.’
The Observer added, ‘Another speaker, who took a swipe at police officers, was NNLC’s Moses Ndlela who said police had a tendency of killing people even if they acknowledged that the government they were serving was not working for the interest of the people.’
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