Home | Feature | Tinkhundla monster killed PUDEMO's Jele

Tinkhundla monster killed PUDEMO's Jele

Font size: Decrease font Enlarge font

The decision by Prime Minister Sibusiso Barnabas Dlamini to have an inquest into the death of Sipho Jele, the member of the since proscribed People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO), in the hands of police is merely playing politics because it will never achieve anything, least of all bring the dead man back to life.

As I see it the PM’s public posture on the matter of the PUDEMO man’s death is no different to another similar case, that of Mandlenkhosi Moses Ngubeni, famously known as ‘Mathousand’, who also died in the hands of the police because there never was any commitment from the government of the day to see justice done in that matter. It is purely academic that government went through the motions of being gravely concerned by ‘Mathousand’s’ death by staging an inquest as a public relations stunt to pacify the anger it triggered from both domestic and international quarters.

The inquest into the ‘Mathousand’ death was damning as it found that the suspect had been ‘tubed’ or suffocated while under police custody. Specifically the inquest’s conclusion on the death of ‘Mathousand’ was as follows; “From the evidence gathered I find that the deceased Mandla Mathousand Ngubeni was suffocated or ‘tubed’ by the police interrogating him, who in my view were acting in common purpose and were trying to extract the truth about the disappearance of the money at Fast Towing Services.”


Significantly the inquest never achieved anything because no one was prosecuted as perhaps anticipated since a crime had been committed as per observations of the inquest; “It was however possible in my view to conclude that the said person (Mathousand) was subjected to some torture of sorts, possibly suffocation by the police, which I believe was an unlawful act for which the necessary action may be taken by the Director of Public Prosecution should she be satisfied in this regard.”

Another significant observation of the inquest was that the police were also negligent in not being able to act promptly when it was apparent that Ngubeni was having a difficulty in the cells.
 In my view an earlier intervention by them (police) taking him for medical treatment whatever the cause for his suffering would have been the most prudent step expected of one having control over other people’s lives.”
 Additionally, to date none of the recommendations of the inquest, which among others include restraining police from using torture methods to extract evidence from suspects as well as improved treatment of suspects in the hands of the police for interrogation purposes appear to have never been implemented as attested to by the many complaints by suspects whenever they appear before the courts to the effect that they are routinely mistreated and tortured by police.  

Notwithstanding the sacredness of life – any human being’s life whatever their station in life - the ‘Mathousand’ case pales into insignificance to that of PUDEMO’s Jele. Jele simply died because he subscribed to a political ideology that is diametrically opposed to the  Tinkhundla system of government.

 That is the significance of his arrest ostensibly because he was wearing a T-shirt of PUDEMO, a political organisation that was proscribed on as yet unproven accusations of terrorism through a piece of legislation, the Suppression of Terrorism Act of 2008, that runs counter to the spirit and the letter of the national Constitution that supposedly is the supreme law of the country.

Not only does that piece of law seeks to force the Tinkhundla philosophy down the throats of every citizen but it confers too much power on an individual, the Prime Minister Sibusiso Barnabas Dlamini, to do as he pleases.
As I see it the difference between the ‘Mathousand’ and Jele case is that whereas the former was arrested for a suspected criminal offence, the latter’s constitutional rights were violated because of his political beliefs, namely that he did not subscribe to the Tinkhundla political philosophy but to one that was diametrically opposed to it.


In any civilized state Jele would not have died but allowed to pursue his political beliefs in cognisance of his inalienable fundamental human rights as enshrined in the national Constitution. Had the obtaining political hegemony allowed and permitted Jele to exist as a free political spirit in pursuance of what he believed in he would still be with us today.
So, who is really to blame for the life snuffed at its prime? I do not think, as many believe, that the police are to blame for this heinous crime.  The police, in as far as I am concerned, are mere vessels ready and willing to fulfill the desires and machinations of their political masters.

If anything, they were acting on the mandate spelled out upon the appointment of their ultimate boss, the PM.  For the police, Jele was just another casualty in the line of duty, a duty for which they took an oath to live up to, when they decided to transform into men and women in uniform to serve not the people but their political masters.
Because, unlike in democratic countries and societies, in essence the police in this Kingdom of eSwatini are not really in service of or for the people but are primarily for the political status quo.
That essentially is the supreme calling of the police for which they should be pitied because they too need to make a living given non-existent alternative job opportunities elsewhere.

To get back to the question of who is really to blame for Jele’s demise, my take is that it is the Tinkhundla political monstrosity. For had the obtaining political oligarchy given space to political pluralism in a true democracy Jele would still be alive because there would never have been the need to incarcerate him simply for wearing a T-shirt belonging to a political entity that should have never been proscribed in the first place without due process.
Had the ruling class respected the national Constitution there would never have been the need for the police to invade and intimidate workers celebrating May Day, an event that has official recognition even within the confines of the small political space allowed to proponents of real democracy here, and not the self-serving so-called unique democracy being perpetuated by the obtaining political oligarchy.

As I see it, it is immaterial whether Jele might have committed suicide by hanging himself or not, which is also doubtful especially for a man who was once arrested for much more serious political crimes but did not find in himself the zeal to become a martyr by taking his own life than for wearing a T-shirt belonging to a political organisation abhorred by the ruling elite.

Even assuming the worst, that Jele took his own life for whatever reason, which in itself is an absurdity of the first order, the fact remains that it is the Tinkhundla monstrosity that led him to do that for had he not been incarcerated simply for wearing his T-shirt of choice he would still be with us today lest he was struck down by stray cattle that have taken ownership of public roads or in one of the freak kombi accidents.


If anyone is in doubt as to who killed Jele then the entry of the traditional institution, his chiefdom of Encabaneni, which we all know to be one of the footstools of the ruling class as prescribed by the national Constitution, by first attempting to disown Jele and his family and later trying to coerce a fine from the family for pursuing dissenting political views from the obtaining system is solid confirmation that the political juggernaut of the Tinkhundla was at work.

As if that was not enough, police had to barge in, I am sure acting on instructions of their political masters, to stop Jele’s funeral. Talk of being persecuted even in death, the Tinkhundla political system has become a master persecutor as attested by the credentials it earned over the Mzikayise N1tshangase debacle.

Has anyone, with the exception of those salivating and feed off the obtaining Tinkhundla political system, been left in any doubt as to who is responsible for Sipho Jele’s death?

Post your comment comment

Please enter the code you see in the image:

: Pay cuts suspension
Do you believe that the announcement of pay cuts for politicians was window dressing?