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MBABANE – The Editors’ Forum has described Friday, July 25, 2014 as a sad day for journalism in the country.

This was yesterday when High Court Judge, Mpendulo Simelane imposed a two-year sentence without an option of a fine on the Nation Magazine Editor Bheki Makhubu and Human Rights Lawyer, Thulani Maseko.
Chairman of the Editors’ Forum Mbongeni Mbingo described the sentence as alarming.

“Bheki Makhubu is a member of the Editors’ Forum, he is a senior editor and he is highly regarded in the profession. Therefore, today has been a very sad day for all of us in the profession.
“The sentence is alarming to us in the industry. I have been following the case as a journalist, as editor and a colleague to Bheki, but I never saw this coming. I didn’t think the sentence could be this drastic,” he said.


Mbingo said as editors and media practitioners, they would have to study the judgment to avoid finding themselves in the same predicament.
“I think we will obviously have to look at it and study it as media personnel to understand where the judge is coming from and to understand where the infringement was in order to ensure that we don’t find ourselves in the same situation.  

“More than anything it’s important for us to understand what we stand for as a profession; it’s important to understand our role in society. We need to perform our role in society as respectfully as we can and also as unafraid as possible,” he said.
Mbingo clarified that he couldn’t comment on the judgment because doing so would probably constitute contempt of court but insisted that he was at pains, following yesterday’s events.

“I can’t really comment on the sentencing, I can’t comment on the severity or not of it because doing so I would be in contempt but as a friend and colleague to Bheki, I’m in pain,” he said.


Sentence has no place in modern democratic society - TUCOSWA

MBABANE – The Trade Union Congress of Swaziland (TUCOSWA) has condemned the two-year sentence imposed by Judge Mpendulo Simelane on Bheki Makhubu and Thulani Maseko yesterday.
The federation says Judge Simelane’s judgment has no place in modern democratic society.

Maseko has represented TUCOSWA in numerous court cases, such as the legal battle against government where the federation wanted to be registered and recognised by the government.
“The offence allegedly committed by the duo were their opinions in the monthly Nation Magazine edited by Mr Makhubu, where they questioned the arrest of the Government Chief Vehicle Inspector, a member of NAPSAWU, an affiliate of the Federation, who was arrested for correctly executing his duties.
“The appointment of the judge who presided over their case is being challenged as irregular by the Law Society of Swaziland as he is allegedly not qualified to be appointed a Judge of the High Court in terms of the Constitution of Swaziland.


“The legal challenge is pending before the High Court with serious frustrations of being allocated a date of trial,” said the federation in a statement signed by its Secretary General Vincent Ncongwane.
Like the Lawyers for the Human Rights, TUCOSWA further expressed concern at the tone that was used by the judge when imposing the sentence on the duo.
The federation once again wishes to state that the arrest, conviction and sentence of Mr Maseko and Makhubu is very unfortunate and has no space in the modern democratic society.

The federation was seriously shocked at the tone the court used when delivering the judg-ment. It was scaring to say the least.
We are calling upon all peace-loving citizens of this world to join our call for the immediate and unconditional release of Mr Maseko and Mr Makhubu since their prolonged incarceration defies all sense and logic,” said TUCOSWA.



Comments (1 posted):

Manje on 26/07/2014 19:11:13
Looking at the picture of the families crying as their husbands are sent to the slammer it leaves knots in my stomach. I feel like crying too but I have to ask: where exactly is this beautiful country going? Why is there so much hurt and institutionalized hurting of the people? Does unusual punishment and cruelty have any place in our so-called democracy? Why are the people's hearts being hardened because when they see punishments that seem to outweigh the alleged offence our hearts will all be hardened and only God knows what this can only lead to.

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