As if to further drag democracy on a parade of shame, the Swaziland Royal judiciary finally admitted that what took Swazi political activists a few minutes to figure out through basic reasoning, has taken the Swazi judiciary well over three years to conclude.
|Some of Swazi political prisoners|
The line of reason of the reasonable at the time was that for Bheki Dlamini, the President of the Youth wing of the biggest Political Party in Swaziland, to have been able to be at the scene of the crimes, he would have needed to be in possession of a helicopter or a faster mode of transport because on the said days he had reported to his work at 8 in the morning.
But justice is never the pursuit when political activists are thrown into the injustice system of Swaziland. Mary da Silva, Bheki Dlamini’s lawyer, once remarked that the Swazi judiciary treats political activists worse than hardened criminals.
By acquitting Bheki Dlamini of all the charges and finding Zonke Dlamini, the co-accused, guilty, will always be viewed in the only reasonable sense that Zonke was to stay behind so that the judiciary could grasp onto some form of legitimacy, as if there was a case to prosecute from the beginning.
If the Injustice System of Swaziland could knowingly keep an innocent man behind bars for well over three years, it comes without question that it wouldn’t think twice on keeping another man locked up for more years in order to lay claim to the existence of guilt for an obvious case of conspiring and framing of political activists just because the monarch and his cabal does not tolerate dissenting views.
Such can be proven on a number of cases whereby political activists walk around with bail conditions that ensure that dare they say a word in disagreement to the Monarch and the Tinkhundla regime, they would be dragged back into the abyss of confinement and torture in the shortest time possible. One such victim is a young Maxwell Dlamini, who on top of having been on the receiving end of a near impossible to pay bail amount, has been denied a scholarship to further his education and has had to be a regular visitor at a given police station in order to meet the bail conditions which are used as a tool to maintain some form of semi-incarceration of political activists. The idea is to maintain a sustained fear of hell among the political activists, through the almost official torture practice, the frequent arbitrary arrests, and the murders that are committed with impunity by Mswati III’s security forces.
It is also logical that the system has to provide evidence for the propaganda that it punts to the Swazi people, that PUDEMO and its auxiliaries is hard at work trying to turn the country into a warzone, even though the war has not been forthcoming. So when a good number of Swazis start turning the attention to the real problem which is the poverty that is caused by the plundering of state resources by the royal family and the elite, the Nation is given another victim from the PUDEMO camp to parade around the royal judicial spaces, and for a while it seems like political parties are the problem when it is actually the greed of the royal family and the unworkable Tinkhundla political system that is the root cause of a country in the constant verge of economic collapse. If it wasn’t for the annual SACU receipts which are guaranteed through a development component which comes out of the pocket of poor South Africans, Swaziland would have long approached South Africa so it could be annexed as a province of the latter.
The curious matter is that Zonke Dlamini who has been found guilty under the Suppression of Terrorism Act which very recently America said the Act needs to be totally annulled if Swaziland wants to hold on to the duty free AGOA arrangement that insures the salary – even though at mostly a slavery rate - of about 30 000 Swazis. It must be a genuine concern that America with its own questionable policy on terrorism, should question the justness of the Swazi Law. The question then remains that if this draconian law is repealed, will the scales of injustice still hold in Chief Justice Michael Mathealira Ramodibedi’s fiefdom?
Again Mswati III and his judicial circus has put a not-so-stand-up show in ridiculing the very core of democratic values by making a mockery of judicial processes. There continues to be an undeniable rope as thick as a ship anchor’s chain, all the way from the palace, that yanks the gavel and wobbles the defence. Cheatham House says, “it is not undemocratic”, Buckingham Palace invites it to royal functions, it spends its blood money in Vegas, and when it is called to account it sees visions of Monarchical Democracies in the middle of electric storms and cries, “sovereignty!” Many say it is ignorant and dub it, “A Swazi problem”, but the reality is that it mocks every man woman and child who has ever stood to defend democracy.
The Swazi regime is adamant on continuing with criminalising abortion while statistics point to alarming backroom, or rather filthy toilet abortions by young girls and the mortalities thereof, while the system itself aborts its children in prison cells and torture dungeons. It has employed a Sotho national to conduct the Symphony of Judicial Misery where honourable productive citizens like Bheki Dlamini and Zonke Dlamini are criminalised for seeking justice and security forces are rewarded handsomely for replenishing the abattoir of the abettors. The only upside to this is that Zonke Dlamini and the other political prisoners will not be alone for much longer, but will be joined by more PUDEMO and SWAYOCO members in prison.
As time passes it becomes clear that Mswati III and his tinkhundla regime will not be able to sustain the repression for too much longer. There are clear signs, like the undeniable that the system has outlived its limited vision and there need to be a system that can usher Swazi people into a humane future; the question is no more “if”, but’ “when”. If the SACU receipts can fall just once, it would be back to the begging bowl for Swaziland, and who knows the patience of South Africa when Swaziland has publicly declared itself as having taught South Africa the values of democracy, and its entire attitude towards the latter being that of arrogance and the show of empty pride.