Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Mario Freed


Hlengiwe Ndlovu
Swazi Observer
PUDEMO President Mario Masuku escorted by a security officer at the High Court yesterday

PUDEMO President Mario Masuku was yesterday acquitted of a charge of terrorism.

He was acquitted by High Court Judge Mbutfo Mamba on the first day of his trial. He had been charged with contravening the Suppression of Terrorism Act after he uttered statements to the effect that PUDEMO would continue with the bombing of vital government structures in Swaziland last year at the funeral of the late Musa Dlamini who was killed during a bomb blast at Lozitha bridge.

The funeral was held at KaLanga in Siteki.

Justice Mamba found that there was “poor quality of evidence” by the prosecution in the matter.

Appearing for the crown was Director of Public Prosecutions Mumcy Dlamini, whilst advocate Norman Kades, who had been instructed by Thulani Maseko, Masuku’s lawyer appeared for the defence.

Poor quality evidence, incoherent statements submitted to the court by witnesses and a series of dramatic errors led by Judge Mamba issuing the ruling that Masuku be acquitted.

After the examination and cross examination of witnesses in court, in a trial that began in the morning and ended shortly after lunch, Advocate Kades made an application to the Judge under the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act of 1938 Section 174, Subsection 4 that the case be dismissed because of the poor quality evidence.

“My Lord, there is no way that the accused can be put on the defence to answer on the charges because the evidence which has been brought to this court is very poor. It is just not worthy.”

Furthermore, the advocate noted that within the evidence, there is nothing which also substantiates Masuku’s alternative charge.
The alternative charge states that “the accused is guilty of Contravening Section (5) (1) of the Sedition and Subversive Activities Act of 1938. In that or upon or about the 27th September, 2008 at or near KaLanga area, the said accused did unlawfully and with subversive intention utter the words to the effect that they will continue with the bombing of vital structures of the government of the Kingdom of Swaziland and did thereby contravene the said Act.”

Five witnesses had presented their evidence, and one of them was Superintendent Mike Zwane the police officer who was in charge of investigating the matter.

Evidence brought to the court by the first witness Sithembiso Shongwe was dismissed in the initial stages of the trial, on the basis that it was irrelevant.

Judge Mamba ruled that the evidence was inadmissible after Advocate Kades applied that it was irrelevant because Shongwe kept on telling the court about activities planned by PUDEMO in meetings that were held in South Africa.

One of these activities is the operation “vula vala”, which the witness described as being an activity planned by PUDEMO to disrupt last year’s parliamentary elections by bombing different Tinkhundla Centres and government structures. Submitting his evidence, Shongwe mentioned other sordid activities planned by his organisation to make the country ungovernable.

Shongwe is a defective member of PUDEMO, and is interestingly serving a term in prison for a string of cases.

Making his ruling Justice Mamba said, “I have heard the evidence which has been presented. I agree that evidence brought by the three other witnesses, apart from that made by the police officer is so poor that I can not make out or determine what they were talking about.

The application for the discharge of the accused is accordingly granted and written reasons will be issued in due course”.

Judge Mamba observed that the evidence by Superintendent Zwane did not in any way mention anything about Masuku’s charge.

DPP’s attempt to stop Advocate Kades’ application in vain

DIRECTOR of Public Prosecutions Mumcy Dlamini tried to oppose Advocate Norman Kades’ application that Mario Masuku’s matter be dismissed but this was in vain.

Dlamini submitted that because a number of witnesses called by the state highlighted on the statements made by Masuku at MJ’s funeral and quoted him verbatim and as such argued that the matter should not be dismissed.

Making her alternative submission, she said Masuku had indeed made statements in support of terrorism at MJ’s funeral. Advocate Kades was worried with the use of the word “they” in the Masuku’s charge. The charge states that Masuku uttered statements that “they will continue with the bombing of vital structures of the government of the Kingdom of Swaziland”.

Advocate Kades argued that by saying “they”, Masuku was not referring to himself. The DPP said by uttering these statements, whether Masuku was referring to himself or other people is not important, but what matters is that he said something that supports terrorism.

Monday, September 21, 2009

A free man!


4hrs ago: A PUDEMO member claims to have been trained in arms and is testifying against Mario.

3hrs ago: He details how he was trained on armed strategies through secret meetings.

3hrs ago: The man give details on three operations; operation rush hour, operation vula vala……

3hrs ago: only three people had testified

2hrs ago: toyi toying at the high court and chanting of political slogans.

An hour ago: The witness who claimed to have been "trained" is allegedly from custody arrested for rape.

50 min ago: Police officers arrest a PUDEMO member for wearing a PUDEMO t-shirt.


Mario Masuku is a free man….. He has been acquitted of all charges!

Mario Masuku's trial begins today

This morning the trial of PUDEMO President Mario Masuku has begun at High Court in Mbabane.

The court room is packed to capacity and many outside can not get in.

PUDEMO members were toyi toying, shouting VIVA PUDEMO and were threatened with arrest if they continued to do so.

One PUDEMO member has been arrested for wearing a PUDEMO t-shirt.

Two members of the American Embassy are present and representatives from the Canadian High Commission have been requested, by SSN Canada, to attend the four day hearings.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Trial to begin on Sept 21


The Peoples United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO) wishes to alert both the Swazi public and the international community on the coming trial of its President Mario T Masuku. Masuku was arrested in November 2008 less than 24 hours after the oppressive and undemocratic Swazi royal regime had ‘banned’ the organization describing it as terrorists. This is all because PUDEMO has over the years dared to challenge the regime to stop its dictatorial tendencies, human rights abuse, corruption, nepotism, harassment, lack of democracy, etc. For this, PUDEMO has been viewed by the regime as its greatest threat to its continued oppression of the poor masses of Swaziland.

On the 21 September, the trial shall commence at the High Court of Swaziland in Mbabane at 9am. The resilient members of PUDEMO from all corners of the country shall again descend on Mbabane in support of their President. They will be joined by the democracy seeking people of Swaziland under the banner of the Swaziland United Democratic Front. This is because Comrade Masuku’s detention has become a symbol of oppression for the people of Swaziland!

This will be a contest between freedom and oppression; justice and injustice. The defence team comprises fearless lawyers for human rights, who have over the years stood by and defended the oppressed people of Swaziland without fear of this brutal regime. There is Thulani Maseko (is himself out on bail on charges of sedition), Leo Gama, Mandla Mkhwanazi and Paul Shilubane. The regime has unashamedly run to South Africa, a democratic country to seek legal assistance on its fight to sustain its injustices and oppression on the people of Swaziland. Whoever shall take this offer must be condemned and discouraged, for the rewards are no different from blood money!

Meanwhile a prayer service is being planned in Swaziland for the coming weekend in preparation fro the commencement of the trial. We are also encouraged by the planned protest action by COSATU for the release of Mario Masuku on 25 September. A lot of activities internationally are currently taking place where people are calling for the release of Comrade Mario and the introduction of multiparty democracy in Swaziland. The Swaziland Solidarity Network is one of such.

Comrade Mario is fine and ready for the road ahead. The family also remains strong and fully behind him for they know that this is not only about them, but the fight for the oppressed masses of Swaziland.

However, as usual, the state will be unleashing its brutal security apparatus to intimidate, harass and even assault people who will be attending the trial. But we shall remain resolute in support of our President and the fight for democracy in Swaziland.


National Head of Publicity Zakhele Mabuza +268 607 3453

Deputy President Sikhumbuzo Phakathi 0731427594

Secretary General Sphasha Dlamini +268 608 9783