The Communist Party of Swaziland (CPS) joins all freedom loving people of Swaziland and the world in denouncing and condemning the Mswati autocracy for the arrest and conviction by ambush effected against Comrade Musa Ngubeni last week, Tuesday 14 May 2019. Ngubeni was convicted for his revolutionary role during the April 2011 protest actions against the tinkhundla system. If there is any individual who still doubts that Swaziland’s judiciary remains one of Mswati’s tools through which he suppresses the people of Swaziland, then Ngubeni’s case should be the ultimate illustration point.
Ngubeni had been out on a E50 000 bail for all those years and subjected to strict bail condition. He had to report four times a week to a police station. His passport was confiscated. Ever since the 2011 arrest he has been unable to travel outside Swaziland, with the trial deliberately being stalled by the regime. While in all previous court appearances the case had been postponed, on Tuesday 14 May 2019 the magistrate, Joe Gumedze, decided to convict Ngubeni there and then and further hold him in prison while awaiting sentencing. Sentencing is set for tomorrow, Tuesday 21 May 2019.
There is clear desperation on the side of the regime to punish Ngubeni even more. It is clear even to a small child that this latest conviction was consequent to a directive from the highest institutions of Swaziland that Ngubeni had to be hastily convicted!
Ngubeni was arrested in 2011, together with then student activist Maxwell Dlamini, after partaking in mass protest actions against the tinkhundla system that year. The regime dusted an old 1961 Explosives Act and charged them for contravening that Act. During police interrogation following the 2011 arrest they were heavily tortured, in an attempt to extort a confession out of them since the police never had evidence that they were in possession of explosives. Maxwell was later acquitted.
The world should note, however, that Ngubeni’s case is not as cut and dry as it seems, and neither is it without historical underpinnings influencing the regime to constantly victimise him in this manner. During the years 2007 and 2008, Ngubeni was part of University of Swaziland students who held a long, resilient protest action against the university administration which was hell-bent on imposing a new academic programme without consultation. On 18 January 2008 the police singled him out, arrested and heavily tortured him at the Matsapha Police Station.
The heavy assault on him was not without connection to an event four years earlier. In May 2004, Ngubein’s elder brother, Mandla “Mathousand” Ngubeni, had been tortured to death by Mswati’s police. The criminal claims against him were never substantiated. Mathousand was subjected to all manner of torture, including suffocation, all of which led to his death. A façade of a commission of inquiry into his death, led by the government, has never released any report. During the assault of Musa Ngubeni in January 2008, the police would unceasingly remind him of his elder brother Mathousand, telling him that he would die like him and the police would suffer no repercussions.
This brief history into Ngubeni’s life and activism is very important in understanding his prolonged victimisation by the regime. The CPS commends him for standing firm on his democratic beliefs and refusing to collaborate with the state against the democratic movement. Ngubeni remains a trusted member of the People’s United Movement (PUDEMO) and its young league, the Swaziland Youth Congress (SWAYOCO).
The Communist Party of Swaziland calls upon the oppressed people of Swaziland to unite in solidarity with Comrade Musa Ngubeni. The call for democracy must ring louder! Mswati’s courts must be filled by loud calls for the unconditional release of all political prisoners! Mswati should not be allowed to victimise democracy and human rights activists without serious repercussions visited upon the tinkhundla regime as a whole!
Down with the Mswati autocracy!
Forward to a free and democratic Swaziland!
Issued by the Communist Party of Swaziland