Five activists arrested in police raid in Swaziland have been released

According to police, the documents calling for democracy that were confiscated in the raids may be considered treasonous

December 24, 2019 by Peoples Dispatch
Five pro-democracy activists from the Communist Party of Swaziland and other pro-democracy organizations in Swaziland were arrested in a raid on December 20. Photo: CPS

Five pro-democracy leaders who were arrested by the Swaziland police on Friday December 20 have been released. The arrests took place following the raids conducted on the early morning of December 20. The police, allegedly on the order of the King Mswati III – the last absolute monarch in Africa reigning above the law – raided the homes of a number of activists.

Documents, laptops, organizational banners and T-shirts were allegedly confiscated by the police. The first to be arrested was the national chairperson of Communist Party of Swaziland (CPS), Dumisani Fakudze.

“The police confiscated from our national chairperson many party documents which they deemed to have the potential of being treasonous due to their call for the democratization of Swaziland,” said Thokozane Kenneth Kunene, General Secretary of CPS who is exiled to South Africa.

Leaders of the People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO) were also targeted. A statement by the Swaziland United Democratic Front said “Other leaders raided include Cde Sibongile Mazibuko, (President of Ngwane National Liberation Congress). Themba Mabuza (Organizer of the Front) and Mphandlana Shongwe, a veteran in the Swazi struggle and PUDEMO NEC member, to name a few.”

IOL reported the release of the CPS chairperson, along with Wandile Dludlu of PUDEMOS, Sibongile Mazibuko, who is the president of Ngwane National Liberatory Congress and Sikela Dlamini, the general secretary of Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT) and another union leader Jan Sithhole.

Kunene has reiterated that “The CPS is not deterred by the obvious intimidation and scare tactics of the Mswati regime.. Political parties remain banned in Swaziland since April 12, 1973, when the late Sobhuza II unilaterally repealed the constitution, banned political parties and bestowed all executive, legislative and judicial power upon himself, thus creating an absolute monarchy.”

“The CPS reiterates the people’s call that #MswatiMustFall!”