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MBABANE – Human Rights Lawyer Maxwell Nkambule has reported fresh threats on his life to the police.

On December 7, 2022, Nkambule escaped unhurt after gunshots were fired at his car while returning from Big Bend to consult some of his clients. After the incident, the human rights lawyer described it as an assassination attempt, linked to his work as a legal representative of a number of suspects facing charges under the Suppression of Terrorism Act of 2018. In an interview yesterday, Nkambule said this month a drone was flown over his homestead for hours at night.


“Such threat has been followed by nightly visits by unknown men. It started with a double cab bakkie and now it is a sedan, which arrives in the middle of the night, parks at the gate and the four men split in double and survey the place and come to casually and comfortably camp at the gate for an hour or two before leaving,” said the human rights attorney. He said he had since alerted the police on this. “What I fear most is vigilantism. If my neighbours would be caught in the crossfire, I would not be happy. I have been assured by concerned friends that they will keep watch and I am afraid if my worst fears are proven right on the identity of the people who are threatening my life and that of my family,” said the lawyer.

Nkambule went on to state that he kept on asking himself if it was a crime to defend certain people in the Kingdom of Eswatini. “I repeat to the nation, that my only sin is to defend certain figures, who in the eyes of the perpetrators are already guilty even before the court pronounces. I appeal that we let the law take its course,” said Nkambule. He said most disturbing was that the charges levelled against his clients were allegedly politically motivated. He said his clients remained innocent until proven guilty. Asked whether he was still representing the accused persons who were allegedly found in possession of explosives and the others, Nkambule responded to the affirmative. He said he was still representing the accused persons in all of the matters.

He said he was working with an equally capable team which advised and assisted him. “I can safely state that I am within the country, in a place of safety. I was ready to attend the trial of one of the various contentious matters.  It was set for three days, unfortunately the parties received the correspondence late yesterday (Tuesday) that the trial will not be proceeding. I cannot deny, however, that I still have to take instructions from my clients and have a full discussion around issues of security for myself as the threats escalate and remain real since last month’s assassination attempt,” he said. He alleged that what remained clear was that the Kingdom of Eswatini was in some form of an undeclared war.

Nkambule was not present when the duo of Musa Clement Kunene and Msindiso Ntshalintshali appeared at the High Court on Tuesday. They were in court for their third remand hearing before Judge Nkosinathi Maseko. The situation was saved by another well-known Human Rights lawyer, Sipho Gumedze, as he stood in for him (Nkambule). The pair was allegedly found in possession of two grenades, 20 live rounds of ammunition and an Umbutfo Eswatini Defence Force (UEDF) pair of trousers.


Kunene and Ntshalintshali were arrested by members of the Royal Eswatini Police Service (REPS) on November 8, 2022 at Mbhuleni, Matsapha. Nkambule also represents the three men who are alleged to have killed members of the security forces. The accused in this matter are Ncamiso Mabuyakhulu, who is a member of the Swaziland Youth Congress (SWAYOCO), Philani Sihlongonyane, a member of the Swaziland Liberation Movement (SWALIMO) and their co-accused, German Robert Dlamini, whose political home is uncertain. They are facing 29 counts under the Suppression of Terrorism Act. He also represents the three men who are accused of burning the Ngudzeni Inkhundla building. These are Bongani Goodman Mamba, Bongumusa Kenneth Kunene and Sibongiseni Hoshoba Shongwe. Chief Police Information and Communications Officer Superintendent Phindile Vilakati only confirmed that Nkambule reported the threats and they were currently investigating same.

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