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Incarcerated pro-democracy MPs get first victory in Mswati’s courts amid local and international pressure.

Thursday, 30th December, 2021

MBABANE: Judge Doris Tshabalala surprisingly ruled in favour of incarcerated pro-democracy Members of Parliament(MPs) amid escalating pressure within eSwatini and internationally calling for their release.

The Judge ordered Supreme Court Registrar to enroll the bail appeal for the MPs in the first session of the court to commence in January 2022.

MPs Bacede Mabuza and Mthandeni Dube who were leading the calls for democratic reforms in Parliament were subsequently arrested by the police after an order allegedly issued by King Mswati, the court including Judge Mumcy Dlamini and the Registrar of the Supreme Court later became hostile towards them by denying them access to justice.

The arrest of the pro-democracy MPs triggered a series of protests in eSwatini with various international human rights organizations including Amnesty International calling for their release.

An electronic evidence released by this publication exposed Jeffery Shabalala, the then Army Commander revealing how King Mswati ordered the arrest of the pro-democracy MPs, Shabalala was subsequently forced to resign allegedly by the King.

The latest developments come after royal linked Judge Mumcy Dlamini dismissed the bail application for the MPs, their bail appeal was subsequently frustrated by the Registrar of the Supreme Court.

As a result, the MPs successfully filed a fresh application before the High Court seeking to compel the Supreme Court Registrar to enroll their bail appeal.

Judge Doris Tshabalala concluded that the High Court had jurisdiction to hear the matter, she then ruled in favour of the pro-democracy MPs.

Reached for comments by this Swaziland News after the delivery of the judgement on Wednesday, Sicelo Mngomezulu, the South African Correspondent Attorney representing the pro-democracy MPs said the application was to compel the Registrar of the Supreme Court to set down the bail appeal application before the court adding that the Chief Justice was also cited in the application.

“Today, we attended the court again for the judgement pertaining to this application and we were successful.The Judge agreed with us that, first of all, she had jurisdiction to entertain our application and that the application has merit and for that reason the application was granted”, said the lawyer.

The first victory for the pro-democracy MPs comes after top and highly regarded eSwatini lawyer Ben J Simelane joined their legal team.

Reached for comments, Wandile Dludlu, the Secretary General of the People’s United Democratic Movement(PUDEMO) said as a movement, they maintained their position that the MPs were not supposed to be arrested in the first place.

"The judiciary is now playing the game of politics. This regime is failing to play politics where it is supposed to, like in Parliament and then uses some Judges to play politics. You ask yourselves, why it took so long for the judiciary to do what it is supposed to do? Of course, some Judges were against the arrest of the MPs because they know they were wrongly arrested, while some are beginning to see that they have wronged the Swazis for all these years hence they are trying to correct that”, said the PUDEMO Secretary General.

Worth-noting, the application to compel the Registrar of the Supreme Court to set down the matter was not vigorously opposed by the State like previously where an Advocate was hired.

A local lawfirm Robinson Bertram was engaged to represent the Chief Justice and the Registrar of the Supreme Court, there was no legal representation for the Attorney General.

Incarcerated pro-democracy MPs get first victory in Mswati’s courts amid local and international pressure.
Pro-democracy MPs gets first victory in Mswati’s court