The Women and Law for Sothern Africa (WLSA) Eswatini should stop being a hypocrite organization by using the name of Principal Magistrate Phathaphatha Mdluli to benefit funding from international donors.
Perhaps, let me first declare that I am the husband of Nompendulo Nokuthula Mkhonta who was beaten and suffocated by the police without committing any crime, my two minor children aged four(4) and seven(7) were left alone while their mother was dragged to be tortured by about twenty police officers, a majority of whom were men. Her only sin was to be married to someone who is challenging those in power, she had to be beaten and suffocated merely for that. The two minor children who knew nothing about politics had to be exposed to all forms of danger while their mother was away just because they were born by a father who is taking the authorities to task on social and political injustice in this country.
While various international organizations including the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) based in New York in the United States are pursuing this matter that exposed how women are treated in this country, the Women and Law and the Swaziland Action Group Against Abuse(SWAGAA) remain silent because of fear to confront the authorities. It’s a pity that I have a direct interest in this matter hence I will not delve much on it pending an investigation by the international organizations.
On another note, before this matter, the media widely reported that a Prince raped a University student but the Women and Law together with SWAGAA did nothing to advocate for justice on behalf of this woman because they were afraid to challenge the police in a matter that touched on a member of the royal family. This criminal case was never prosecuted, it was blocked by senior Superintendent Clement Sihlongonyane and this demonstrated how the justice system in this country has collapsed and favors the rich and powerful.
Now, here is Women and Law challenging Principal Magistrate Phathaphatha Mdluli, perhaps, they conducted a background check and uncovered that he does not have a royal blood hence they can make a lot of commotion around his matter. Let me state clearly that in this country, we have women rights activists who are hypocrites, collecting millions from donors claiming to be fighting for women when in actual fact this is not the case.
The tendency by these organizations of targeting people with no royal connection and use their cases to mislead the international community that they are fighting for women to benefit from funding must come to an end. We need a vibrant civil society that will demand answers from those in power on issues of injustice, not individuals who use the plight of women to enrich themselves. What is the significance of having these organizations if they will act as an extension of the oppressive government by ignoring such issues only to make noise on selected matters whose relevance remain highly questionable? If the role of Women and Law is to organize women around the country for the royal Buganu ‘sex’ ceremony and then come back to make noise about Phathaphatha, then we should be worried.
I am not saying Magistrate Phathaphatha Mdluli is right, of course, on a balance of probabilities he might be wrong, but these organizations should stop parading him as a monster even when this issue has been sorted at a family level. Women are being abused in this country by those in power and the civil society should stand up and advocate for justice across all sectors of society. Women and Law should stop acting like the captured eSwatini media that targets selected people with no royal blood while ignoring critical issues affecting this country.
We have some widows in the rural areas who are evicted by King’s men from their land for no valid reason, let’s have vibrant organizations to dispute those in power with regards to this injustice instead of using Phathaphatha Mdluli to mislead the international community.
In conclusion, let me emphasize that I am not defending Mdluli, he must face the law if found to have committed a crime, but we need to keep guard against hypocrite organizations who are determined to use the plight of women to cash millions of dollars for themselves. The civil society should advocate for social, economic and political justice, any hypocrite conduct that seek to mislead the country and the international community should be discouraged.
Principal Magistrate Phathaphatha Mdluli