Thursday, November 27, 2008

Bishops denied permission to see Mario

Bishops denied permission to see Mario
Swazi Times November 27, 2008

MBABANE – A delegation of religious leaders was yesterday morning denied permission to see jailed politician Mario Masuku.

Led by Bishop Meshack Mabuza of the Anglican Church, the men of the cloth, who included Bishop Ncamiso Louis Ndlovu of the Roman Catholic Church, Bishop Musa Biyela of the Lutheran Church and Phillip Hlophe, an executive member of the Swaziland Council of Churches, were turned back by warders upon arrival at the Matsapha maximum prison.

In an interview, Bishop Mabuza said they arrived at the prison at around 11 am with the hope of seeing Masuku, only to be told that it was impossible for them to see the president of the banned People's United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO).

Mabuza said a warder, identified only as sergeant Zwane, told them that Masuku could only be visited by close family members, including his doctor and lawyer.

"The warder told us that the court had ruled that only special visitors would be allowed to visit Masuku and this left us greatly disappointed because we never expected such.

"We tried to reason with him but he was unrelenting and told us that we should go to court and seek an order that we be allowed to see Masuku," Mabuza said.

Mabuza said they then asked Sgt. Zwane to take them to his superiors, but he could hear none of that request and simply told them to leave.

The Bishop said they then called Masuku's lawyer, Thulani Maseko, for a clarification and interpretation of the court order barring people from visiting the imprisoned politician.

"The lawyer said maybe the interpretation by the prison officials included barring people like us Bishops from visiting Masuku," Mabuza said.

Mabuza said they would not be seeking any court order because that would take a lot of time and money, resources that were not easily available.

...they wanted to give him spiritual guidance

Swazi Times Nov 27, 2008

MBABANE – Religious leaders said their intention of visiting jailed political activist Mario Masuku was to give him spiritual guidance.

Bishop Meshack Mabuza said they wanted to pray for and give encouragement to the imprisoned Masuku because that was what they, as spiritual people, are supposed to do. "As things stand, Masuku has been denied spiritual counselling and then you wonder how the man is supposed to cope with what he is facing," Mabuza said.

Mabuza mentioned that the treatment Masuku was getting may be worse than what Bin Laden would get if he was to be apprehended. "It is now as if the heavens have given up on Masuku, and government should question itself on why he is being denied spiritual guidance," Mabuza said. Mabuza said Masuku could do with some counselling and they would not give up on him because they did not despair when it comes to spiritual matters

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