Sunday, November 16, 2008

Mario arrested

Mario arrested— for terrorism acts

Nov 16,2008 Sunday Times


MBABANE—A day after government announced that banned political parties are terrorists, People's United Democratic Movement's (PUDEMO) President Mario Masuku was arrested and charged for contravening of section 5 (2) of Act 3 of Suppression of Terrorism Act of 2008.

According to this act, the PUDEMO president has been found in unlawful possession of literature on weapon-making, including; books, manuals, documents, pamphlets, drawings, diagrams, electronic storage devices and tapes, which is against the country's terrorism bill.


Masuku's arrest and charge comes after a raid by country's police investigation task team yesterday.

This comes after the Prime Minister Sibusiso Dlamini listed the PUDEMO, Swaziland Youth Congress (SWAYOCO), Umbane and the Swaziland Solidarity Network (SSN) as terrorists, under the Suppression of Terrorism Act, 2008 on Friday.

The government said it was satisfied that there was material to support a recommendation under this section when announcing the ban.

This act literally banned the four political parties for life and suggested that its members were not wanted in the country. "Tingaphindzi tilubhadze lakaNgwane," the Prime Minister said on Friday.

Subsequent to this, PUDEMO president Masuku was arrested yesterday morning, after his house had been searched. It could not be ascertained what the police were searching for or what their findings were as this newspaper was denied entry into Masuku's home during the raid.

When Senior Superintended Mike Zwane was approached for comment he confirmed the raid and said there were some findings made which led to the arrest, but he could not divulge the details.

He could not even state what Masuku was charged of. "We did the search at Masuku's home but I can't tell you what our findings were and the name of the charge against Masuku. You will have to attend the court proceedings to get further details regarding this matter," he said.

However, the Mbabane Police station the police were able to disclose Masuku's charge, without any qualms.

When Mario Masuku was called at 11: 30 am he could only confirm the raid and that he had been charged.

"There was a raid but I can't tell you now what happened. I am at the Mbabane police station and I have been charged, but I can't tell you everything about my charge," he stated.

Thulani Maseko, Shilubane fight to see client

MBABANE—Despite recently parting ways,both Paul Shilubane and Thulani Maseko were seen together at the Mbabane Police station yesterday—united by the arrest of Mario Masuku.

When the two arrived at the police station they declared that they were Masuku's lawyers and they wanted to see him. The police at the reception did not easily grant them their wish as they said they had been given strict instructions to the effect that no one was allowed to see Masuku in private.


The two lawyers heard none of what the police were saying, as they literally demanded to see Masuku.

"We understand your instructions, but we are Masuku's lawyers and we would like to see him in private. Call whosoever gave you those instructions and tell him/her that Masuku's lawyers are here and they would like to see him," said Shilubane.

The police later obliged as one officer was seen exiting to another room where she made the call to her instructor. She came back and gave the two a response to the effect that they could see Masuku at a corner inside the reception.

The corner was in full view of everyone inside.

Shilubane and Maseko rubbished this arrangement.

"Are we allowed to see our client or not," asked Shilubane.

"You are, but this is the least we can afford," answered the police.

The verbal confrontation went on for about 20 minutes with no ending.

When the TIMES SUNDAY team left the lawyers were still negotiating to see their client in private.

Maseko, when called later, would not comment much on Masuku's arrest.

"We were at the police station to check on Masuku as our friend. I can't give you my or our comment regarding his charge, as that will be pre-empting everything. For now we will let the law take its course. You will all see the events regarding Masuku's case as it unfolds," said Maseko.

Family braces for life of harassment

MBABANE—The Masuku family says Mario's arrest is an effort to deter the public from engaging in progressive thinking.

The family, speaking through Masuku's son Mzwandile, disclosed that they supported the cause of their father till the end.

"We know the cause that our father has dedicated his life to and we support him all the way. We will never accept that he is a terrorist or all the other comrades in the struggle. For us it's no longer an incident, we anticipated such. It's just that we did not know when it would unfold," said Mzwandile.

"We are very assured that our father is fighting a good cause, which is liberating the people of Swaziland. All the hardship he is facing, we believe is part and parcel of his good cause, but we can't run away from the fact that it's hard and painful sometimes," continued Mzwandile.

The family also revealed that raids where police are armed to the teeth are always an occurrence during the Prime Minister Sibusiso Dlamini's term of office.

"In his last term we were inundated with raids which ended with our father being taken away. We never had such during Absalom's (A.T) tenure. We reckon this will be life from now onwards," lamented Mzwandile.

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