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OPINION:Delay in approaching the International Court of Justice(ICJ) for an order forcing eSwatini to allow an independent investigation into lawyer Thulani Maseko’s death very unfortunate.

Tuesday, 18th June, 2024

Even after countries like the United States(US) demonstrated willingness to support the calls for an independent investigation into lawyer Thulani Maseko’s death,the Mass Democratic Movement(MDM) seems to be ‘sleeping’ and giving the cruel Tinkhundla regime more time to come-up with false narratives.

South Africa took Israel to the International Court of Justice(ICJ) seeking an order stopping the war in Gaza and this precedent should be adopted even in the case of human rights lawyer Thulani Maseko assassination.

As the ICJ allows Sates to litigate,Denmark or other countries concerned with the human rights violations in eSwatini could be lobbied to file the case with the ICJ so that.

We can secure a court order forcing the eSwatini Government to allow an independent credible investigation involving international experts.

The Times,Observer and other State controlled media entities are allegedly working with the State intelligence to try and sabotage this investigation or create false narratives and if the Mass Democratic Movement(MDM) is taking this lightly, then that would mean they don’t know the modus operandi of the Tinkhundla system

This oppressive and cruel regime must be forced to allow an independent investigation into MultiStakeholder Forum(MSF) Chairperson lawyer Thulani Maseko’s death,it will never do that voluntarily.

We will not debate the false narratives by the State controlled media trying to influence the public opinion on this sensitive matter,we want an independent investigation and the US Resolution 174 could be filed to support the case with the ICJ.

Approaching the ICJ would also ensure that the case of Thulani Maseko is not sabotaged,we will be committing a huge mistake if we can allow this cruel regime to get away with this,in fact,that would mean we are allowing Tinkhundla to kill more human rights defenders with impunity.

Calling for the independent investigation through press statements won’t help, the Mass Democratic Movement(MDM) must, through their international partners including countries,approach the International Court of Justice(ICJ) for an order directing the eSwatini Government to allow international investigators to visit eSwatini and conduct the investigations.

Allowing and giving the cruel Tinkhundla regime more time to strategize on how to sabotage the investigations through false narratives will be a denial of justice for lawyer Thulani Maseko.

In the Tuesday(18th June 2024) edition of the Times of eSwatini front page, there’s a sentence that read “some members of the public question why family is refusing to assist cops with investigations”.

As to who are those members of the public whose opinion in the matter deserves to be in the front page,only the intelligent will understand.

It’s actually an attempt by the State controlled media to shift the blame from the State or the police to Maseko family so that in the eyes of the public,it could appear as if “it’s the Maseko’s family that is obstructing the course of justice or sabotaging the investigations”.

I’ve worked for various newspapers in eSwatini and I was once an Executive member of the Eswatini Editors Forum(EEF), the Mass Democratic Movement(MDM) must never underestimate the power of the Times in creating false narratives to protect the Tinkhundla system, they have been doing this for years.

I remember when I fled eSwatini amid persecution by the police, the Times would write “wanted fugitive”, they were avoiding to refer to me as a journalist or editor so that, when the eSwatini State files for an extradition,the copies of the newspaper articles would be attached to influence the decision of the South African legal experts who were expected to take a decision on whether I must be extradited or not.

But that Times reporting was overshadowed after the South African Broadcasting Corporation(SABC),the BBC and other international media entities reported the truth with regards to what was happening.

In the case of Thulani Maseko’s death, the Times articles are then used by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to compile reports and mislead the world with a false narrative suggesting that,the lawyer was killed amid infighting within the pro-democracy or land disputes within his home area.

It is therefore advisable for the pro-democracy groups to consider approaching the International Court of Justice(ICJ),this regime must be held accountable for the alleged killing of the human rights lawyer.

Allowing this sensitive case to play-out in the media space or in the court of public opinion for long time with different false narratives and without international and independent credible legal systems that seeks to demand accountability,is a huge blunder by those who are fighting for justice for the assassinated lawyer.

I am not a lawyer but as a journalist,I am able to see if a narrative is driven particularly by the State controlled media and what that narrative seeks to achieve.

But even if it’s not the Mass Democratic Movement, international human rights organizations must consider assisting emaSwati in lobbying other countries who can file the case with the ICJ, the case can also demand accountability and justice for all the murdered innocent civilians.

The investigation into the murder of Thulani Maseko must be prioritized otherwise, the regime will kill more human rights defenders because after all,their mercenaries confirmed that, they have a list of ‘terrorists’ to be killed.

OPINION:Delay in approaching the International Court of Justice(ICJ) for an order forcing eSwatini to allow an independent investigation into lawyer Thulani Maseko’s death very unfortunate.
The late human rights lawyer Thulani Maseko