Five political and trade union leaders who were arrested during a special operation by the Swazi police have been released from detention.
Dumisani Fakudze, the chairperson of the Communist Party of Swaziland (CPS), was arrested on Friday, following a warrant for his arrest purportedly authorized by King Mswati III.
Other leaders who were freed included Wandile Dludlu of the People’s United Democratic Movement (Pudemo); Sibongile Mazibuko, president of the Ngwane National Liberatory Congress; Sikelela Dlamini, general secretary of the teachers’ union, as well as trade unionist Jan Sithole.
Thokozane Kenneth Kunene, a CPS member who is living in exile in South Africa, said more arrest warrants were issued, but police failed to execute them.
“The police confiscated from our national chairperson many party documents which they deemed to have the potential of being treasonous due to their call for the democratization of Swaziland,” Kunene said.
“The CPS is not deterred by the obvious intimidation and scare tactics of the Mswati regime. The command by Mswati, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, that leaders and members of progressive forces must be arrested, is a sign of deepening desperation to hold on to power.
The Communist Party of Swaziland is a Marxist-Lennist party. The party says it is fighting for a socialist alternative in Swaziland.
Stop trying to climb the capitalist greasy pole. The asset-owning elite are happy and safe when they see the working majority competing with each other to survive. Don’t turn on those in the same boat as you. 97% of capitalists stay rich, and 99% of the working class remain poor. pic.twitter.com/RpLMtPR841
— The Socialist Party (@OfficialSPGB) December 31, 2019
Political parties remain banned in Swaziland since April 12, 1973, when the late Sobhuza II unilaterally repealed the constitution, banned political parties and bestowed all executive, legislative and judicial power upon himself, thus creating an absolute monarchy.
“There are more than 500000 Swazis living in South Africa and most of them are economic migrants. They are joining the CPS. We are also recruiting South Africans whose family lineages could be traced back to Swaziland.”
Kunene, however, indicated that some of his members were forced into exile in 1998 after political repression was allegedly escalated in Swaziland.
“About 15 people left Swaziland during political repression in 1998 and came to settle in South Africa where they were registered as political refugees. I came in 2005. We were 35 and we were also registered as refugees in South Africa.”He operates from his party headquarters in the Joburg CBD.