from SAMBULO DLAMINI in Mbabane, Eswatini
MBABANE, (CAJ News) – A MONTH after human rights lawyer, Thulani Maseko, was murdered, it remains unclear what steps Eswatini authorities have taken to facilitate an independent investigation to identify and bring to justice the perpetrators.
The culprits shot him dead in the presence of his family in the western town of Luyengo, some 50 kilometres from the capital, Mbabane, on January 21.
“Amnesty International is calling on the authorities to reveal how they intend to ensure the investigation into Maseko’s death will be thorough, impartial and transparent,” said Vongai Chikwanda, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Southern Africa.
The organisation demands that Eswatini authorities ensure the investigation into the killing was independent, impartial, transparent and effective.
“It is absolutely crucial that the evidence is not tampered with,” Chikwanda said.
As a State Party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), she said Eswatini had the obligation to investigate.
“Failing to investigate the unlawful killing of Thulani and bring the perpetrator to justice would be a violation of the country’s obligations under the ICCPR,” Chikwanda said.
The killing of Maseko came amid an escalation in attacks on critics, many of whom had been calling out for political reforms in Eswatini.
In 2014, he was jailed for contempt of court after criticising Swaziland’s judicial system.
At the time of his death, Maseko headed the Multistakeholder Forum (MSF), a movement of political parties and civil society groups leading the campaign for democracy in the country whose crisis is arguably the world’s most neglected catastrophe in recent times.
He represented members of parliament, Mthandeni Dube and Bacede Mabuza, who are on trial for offences allegedly committed during the civil unrest that rocked Eswatini in 2021.
– CAJ News