“Magistrate Florence Msibi is a disgrace to the country’s Judicial system”.
These were the words of Mario Masuku of the late President of the People’s United Democratic Movement(PUDEMO) when addressing thousands of workers during the May Day in 2011 at the King Sobhuza Memorial Park, Nhlangano.
Even though I was still new in the media industry at the time, I remember writing an article about Mario Masuku, the late icon of the Swazi struggle who blasted Magistrate Msibi for denying Maxwell Dlamini bail who was expected to write his exams at the University of Swaziland(UNISWA) thus depriving him his right to education.
Dlamini, the then President of the Swaziland National Union of Students(SNUS) who was a final year Diploma in Commerce student was arrested and charged for allegedly contravening the Explosives Act of 1964, alternatively the Arms and Ammunition Act of 1964, he was subsequently released by High Court Judge Mbutfo Mamba to write his exam after Magistrate Florence Msibi tried to please the regime and destroy his future.
Now, ten(10) years later, Magistrate Florence Msibi’s signature is appearing in a politically motivated warrant of arrest where pro-democracy MPs Bacede Mabuza and Mthandeni Dube are charged with terrorism, a whole Magistrate who is expected to promote and uphold the law allowed herself to be used as a ‘political condom’ for the regime.
It is very disturbing to note that in this country, we have Judges and Magistrates who were strategically appointed to deal with those who are advocating for democracy in this country, however, those judicial officers are subsequently dumped by the regime after being used.
Magistrate Msibi is a pedestrian, she travels by public transport from Ngculwini to Nhlangano Magistrate Court hence it is highly possible that she might have read in the media or heard other commuters talking about MPs Bacede Mabuza, Magawugawu Simelane and Mthandeni Dube, before signing that politically motivated warrant, she was fully aware of the current political situation in this country. It is important to clarify that I am not suggesting that Magistrate Msibi should have relied or influenced by public opinion in this matter but as a citizen of this country, she was fully aware that these MPs are being persecuted for their political beliefs but decided to be a conduit of injustice.
Warrants of arrest are issued based on reasonable grounds or suspicion that the accused committed a crime and that reasonable suspicion should be based on evidence not fabrications. As per the sentiments of the late Mario Masuku, indeed, Msibi is a disgrace to the judicial system, perhaps King Mswati’s regime will now provide her with a car and escorts after signing that warrant to arrest MPs who are trying to liberate the people including captured judicial officers like her.
As a country, we lost at least over 100 citizens who were allegedly killed by King Mswati’s security forces, instead of signing warrants for the killers, Magistrates like Florence Msibi are endorsing the arrest of those who are fighting for social and political justice. Hundreds were arrested, tortured and subsequently denied bail merely for protesting and demanding their constitutional right to elect their own Government, others were killed.
Instead of promoting justice for the oppressed, some Judges and Magistrates like Florence Msibi ‘take’ orders to put human rights defenders and political activists behind bars in complete disregard of justice.
A whole Magistrate branding pro-democracy MPs as terrorists merely for being the voice of the people, what a shame!
In conclusion, let me remind Magistrate Msibi that citizens of this country want freedom and this cannot be stopped through a signature of a captured Magistrate. It is important for the people of Ngculwini and the entire country to remind this Magistrate that they want freedom and that change cannot be stopped by captured judicial officers.
Hosea MP Bacede Mabuza and Ngwemphisi MP Mthandeni Dube