Former president Bakili Muluzi on Tuesday expressed excitement that some opposition political leaders jailed in Swaziland have been released days after he implored King Mswati to free political prisoners.
Muluzi, as a special Commonwealth envoy to Swaziland, was in that country from July 5 to 10 to continue a process of engaging the Government of Swaziland to undertake further democratisation efforts.
He said in an interview yesterday that he implored King Mswati during their meeting to release all political prisoners as their continued detention was denting the image of the kingdom.
Muluzi also met Swaziland’s prime minister, civil society organisations (CSOs), ministers of Home Affairs and Justice and diplomats accredited to that country.
Said Muluzi: “It has excited me today [yesterday] to learn that authorities in Swaziland have released People’s United Democratic Movement [Pudemo] president, Mario Masuku, and his co-accused, Maxwell Dlamini.
“I am told this has been through a court bail by the Supreme Court following their appeal against the High Court’s decision that repeatedly denied them bail.”
Muluzi said a European Union (EU) delegation to Swaziland communicated to him that the two, arrested in May 2014 on charges of sedition and terrorism, were granted bail after the crown said it was not opposing their appeal.
Their release, the EU communicated, was met with jubilation from family and friends as well as Pudemo members who immediately burst into political struggle songs and toy-toyed in celebration within the High Court premises.
The Supreme Court in Swaziland on July 1 2015 also upheld an appeal brought by human rights lawyer, Thulani Maseko, and magazine editor, Bheki Makhubu, against their conviction on two charges of contempt of court and their two-year prison sentences.
The court ordered their immediate release from prison. Maseko and Makhubu were charged with contempt of court after they had written articles which were critical of the now ex-chief justice Michael Ramodibedi.