1 July 2011
Swazi Judge Refuses to Step Down
A judge in Swaziland was told to leave office after using “language which was insulting” about King Mswati III in a judgment.
Swaziland High Court Judge Thomas Masuku has “refused” to be suspended and has continued hearing cases- despite having been charged with insulting King Mswati III, Africa’s last absolute monarch, for a ruling that referred to him as “forked-tongued”.)
He was told by Chief Justice Michael Ramodibedi on Wednesday (29 June 2011) that he could no longer sit as a judge pending an investigation into a number of allegations about his conduct.
The Insult Which Wasn’t
The insult? Strangely enough, according to transcripts, the judgment in the case in which the defendant accused the King’s police of confiscating his cattle actually says that Masuku thought it impossible that “His Majesty” could speak with a forked tongue”. So in essence, he has been told to quit his job for NOT calling the king a liar. The problem was putting the wrong words into the same sentence as His Majesty.
This absurd reverse psychology would make it virtually impossible for any public servant to do their job- The King is a central force to almost every area of life in the kingdom, and to discipline senior officials for an insult which wasn’t an insult is just another small indication of the madness that surrounds the personality cult of Dictator Mswati.
An extract from the offending judgment: “…it would be hard to imagine let alone accept and thus incomprehensible that His Majesty could conceivably speak with a forked tongue, saying one thing to his people and then authorising his officers to do the opposite. I reject this notion as totally inaccurate and wrong, and which cannot be properly apportioned to the venerated office of His Majesty.”
WHAT THE JUDGE SAID ABOUT THE KING