MBABANE: Ncamiso Gift Ngcamphalala, the President of the newly formed Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) Swaziland has been charged with sedition, he is accused of calling for the removal of King Mswati from power.
The political activist was arrested on Friday by a team of high-ranking police officers under the supervision of Deputy National Commissioner Sam Mthembu, they allegedly received an order to conduct a crack-down on King’s Mswati’s critics including independent journalists. A copy of the charge sheet in possession of this Swaziland News suggests that, Ngcamphalala has been charged in connection with an article published in the Swati Newsweek Online newspaper.
“The accused person is guilty of the crime of Contravening Section 3(1) as read with Section 4(c) of the Sedition and Subversive Activities Act of 1938 in that during the month of April 2020, exact date not known to the Public Prosecutor at or near Manzini in the said region, the said accused did unlawfully promote feelings of ill-will and hostility between the inhabitants of Eswatini by uttering seditious words which then published, printed, or distributed or reproduced through a Swati Newsweek Newspaper, an online publication in an article titled “REMOVING THE KING IS POSSIBLE” and thus contravene the said Act” read the charge sheet.
King Mswati rules eSwatini formerly Swaziland as an absolute Monarch and criticism directed to him is interpreted as seditious or treasonous by the law-enforcement agency. Political activists and journalists who criticize King Mswati risk being tourtured, arrested or even killed by the police. In 2010, a battalion of heavily armed police officers lead by Deputy National Commissioner Sam Mthembu allegedly killed Sipho Jele, the then member of the People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO) merely for wearing a t-shirt belonging to the political organization. Political parties are banned from participating in elections and the Cabinet is hand-picked by the King.
Ngcamphalala is represented by lawyer Sibongkhosi Xaba