Wednesday, December 17, 2008

...stand-off during Mario’s remand hearing

...stand-off during Mario’s remand hearing
Swazi Times
December 17, 2008

MBABANE - There was a stand-off between police officers and Swaziland Youth Congress (SWAYOCO) members during Mario Masuku’s remand hearing at the High court yesterday.

SWAYOCO is the youth league of the People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO).

The stand-off, which resulted in a brief physical confrontation between one police officer and SWAYOCO’s George Hleta, was caused by deliberate refusal by some SWAYOCO members to take orders from the police to keep quiet inside the court.

A defiant Hleta protested at being told to keep quiet and said he would not respect the police because he had a right to freedom of expression.

Hleta openly shouted that their mission yesterday was to fetch Masuku and neither judge nor police officer could tell them otherwise. He mocked the police officers sending everyone inside the High Court to stitches.

All this time his SWAYOCO colleagues were edging him on and would from time to time shout viva Mario Masuku, viva the people’s president.

This, however, did not go down well with the police officers who were getting impatient at the jokes and sent one of their own to go and enforce order to the SWAYOCO members.

This did little to silent Hleta who openly told the police officer that he will never respect police officers who also failed to show respect by arresting an old sickly man like Masuku. The officer could not help but watch as Hleta changed the entire drama into one big joke much to the amusement of the people inside court.

Seeing that their colleague was failing to handle the SWAYOCO members, the uncompromising police officers reinforced and confronted Hleta together with his comrades.

After failing to reason with the defiant SWAYOCO members, one of the police officers decided to physically manhandle Hleta something that led to a confrontation between SWAYOCO and the police officers.

The situation was saved by the arrival of Chief Justice Richard Banda.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Mario challenges Terrorism legislation

Mario challenges Terrorism legislation
By Swazi News
December 13, 2008

MBABANE- Jailed PUDEMO leader has challenged the constitutionality of the Suppression of Terrorism Act.

In an urgent application filed at the High Court yesterday, Masuku alleges that every citizen must have the capacity and opportunity to speak freely about the government and the king where governance is concerned. He alleges that the Act is not only oppressive, but colonial and has no place in a Constitutional State in which Swaziland claims to be.

"In my respectful submission, it has always been customary practise to criticize the king as the leader of the nation, without inviting sedition and subversive activities. I submit that these actions are worded in such a wide manner so much that it effectively vitiates the fundamental rights and freedoms in an open democratic society," reads Masuku’s papers. He said his incarceration would not come into an end until trial and that given the backlog of cases his trial would not come any time soon.

Masuku is represented by human rights lawyer Thulani Maseko.