MBABANE: Ngomyayona Gamedze, the former Senate Deputy President, now acting Chairman of Sive Siyinqaba ‘Sibahle Sinje’ has warned government and the police against the continuous detention of political activists who are calling for democratic reforms.
Speaking to this Swaziland News, Gamedze who served as a Presiding Officer for a long time when the then Senate President Gelane Zwane was indisposed said during his time in the previous Parliament, they ratified over 30 United Nations Conventions in one day and this, he said, was a commitment by the country to ensure the protection of human rights. He said he was now surprised to learn that the police were harassing people merely for expressing their political views that they want a new government under multi-party democracy.
The seasoned politician warned the police to stay away from politics because their duty was to serve the government of the day not to protect few individuals.
“Harassing political activists, breaking into their houses and seizing their cellphones amounts to the violation of human rights. A cellphone is a personal gadget with personal information that should not be accessed even by the police without the consent of the owner and what they doing now is wrong. I am not talking about hearsay here because I was there as a Presiding Officer when Parliament ratified these UN Conventions that ensured the protection of human rights. It’s now surprising that even the Human Rights Commission is silent on this” he said.
The ‘Sibahle Sinje’ Acting Chairperson maintained that police were not politicians and as such they will never understand political matters.
“Is it a crime to openly express my political view that I don’t want the current government? Are these political activists expected to embrace the current government by force? Why are we allowing the police to violate human rights in this manner? Any detention of a person even if its five(5) minutes amounts to human rights violation because you have taken that person out of his or her comfort zone, its worse when you have seized his cellphone because by so doing you have disconnected that individual from communicating with the world and gained access to personal information,” he said.
The former Deputy Senate President expressed these sentiments in midst of police crackdown on pro-democracy activists after the police raided homes of leaders of the Political Parties Assembly (PPA). These leaders include among others, Wandile Dludlu,the PUDEMO Secretary General, Sibongile Mazibuko , the President of the Ngwane National Liberation Congress(NNLC) and Dumisani Fakudze, the National Chairperson of the Swaziland Communist Party(CPS) Others include Sikelela Dlamini, the Secretary General of the Swaziland National Association of Teachers(SNAT) and Jan Sithole, the President of the Swaziland Democratic Party(SWADEPA)
Reached for comments in an earlier interview, Superintendent Phindile Valakati, the eSwatini Police Spokesperson said the raids were not only targeting political activists but they were acting on intelligence information.
Sibahle Sinje Acting Chairman Ngomyayona Gamedze