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MANZINI – Government says it has never considered slain Human Rights Lawyer Thulani Maseko as a person of interest.

Through Government Spokesperson Alpheous Nxumalo, it said the late Maseko was not a person of interest to government because he was a peaceful man who believed in negotiations and engagements, save for his contrasting political views. Nxumalo said this during a press briefing at The George Hotel in Manzini yesterday.


He alluded to that government woke up to the news of the sad passing of the human rights lawyer, who was prominent for being a human rights activist. The government spokesperson shared that Maseko was known for being a member of a review commission known as Atibuye Emasisweni, an organisation that advocated for the welfare of farm dwellers. “Although his school of thought was of multiparty democracy, he was never a person of special interest to government, because he was a man, who even with clashing political views, never believed in violence but the clashing of ideas and mindsets,” Nxumalo quipped. As a result, the government spokesperson highlighted that government had never regarded him as a disruptive person in the land, but one who put his divergent views on the table and life moved on.


When further queried to clarify on who government’s people of special interest were, Nxumalo said this was an international term that referred to people who were wanted by the State, suspected to have committed a criminal offence. Again, he was queried who these people specifically were. The government spokesperson maintained that the briefing was not meant to discuss about people who were of special interest to government. He said the question was nonsensical. Sanction Scanner describes special interest persons as people involved in a crime, and any suspicious activity. They may be involved in court proceedings, have a previous criminal allegation, or have previously been involved in financial crimes such as money laundering and terrorist financing.

Meanwhile, according to Nxumalo, government had been informed by law enforcers that human rights lawyer Maseko was attacked at his home. “We have not reached the bottom of the matter, as to getting details on the circumstances that have led to Maseko’s killing, his killers and what provoked them, let alone where they came from,” he said. Nonethelesss, Nxumalo stated that the country’s security forces had assured government that they were already at work looking for the killers, and they would not rest until they were brought to book. This, he said, would be done the same way some of the gun-toting individuals had been rounded up in recent weeks. He urged the public to alert the police if they had any information that may help in the apprehension of the criminals.

On another note, the government spokesperson expressed government’s condolences to the family, friends, relatives and colleagues of the human rights lawyer. “Lawyer Thulani Maseko’s demise is a loss to the nation and his footprints as a human rights lawyer are there as proof of his contribution to the country. He will surely be missed,” he sympathised. Meanwhile, Nxumalo stated that the country was faced with attacks from unknown thugs. Having said this, he noted and condemned acts of when such happened, there were people who qualified themselves as seers who knew about happenings and pointed fingers on the culprits. “Government has noted this and has said it before. This is seen happening on social media,” he said.
Nxumalo likened social media to drugs. He said once a person logged online and disseminated a certain narrative, another received it and eventually the rest followed suit. The government spin doctor mentioned that those people’s reasoning was monopolised by one person, who spread false accusations.


“As government, we condemn and refute these allegations. They are nowhere near the truth. It is a norm for this renowned person who resides in South Africa, that each time an incident similar to such happens, he is the first to know,” he said. Nxumalo said emaSwati should question where these people got their ‘machines’ to predict who had done what and how. He said this certain individual knew as soon as these events happened. He said emaSwati should not allow this to brainwash them as this also compromised investigations. “Government once again takes this opportunity to condemn the ruthless killing of civilians. This will include the recent murder of an army officer at Bulembu Camp, and all other previous killings of innocent civilians in the recent past,” he criticised.

He further warned against speculations and insinuations peddled particularly on social media platforms in instances like these. “Again, government distinctly disassociates itself and the country’s authorities from these heinous acts. Such speculations are dangerous as they hamper investigations and take the attention away from the real criminals,” Nxumalo reiterated.
The government spokesperson urged the entire nation to be with the Maseko family in prayer during this sad period.

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