Human Rights Defenders Condemn Murder Of Eswatini Human Rights Lawyer Thulani Maseko

By Samuel Ouma

Eswatini Human Rights Lawyer Thulani Maseko

The unfortunate murder of the South African nation Eswatini Human Rights lawyer Thulani Maseko continues to elicit criticism from activists across Africa.

Maseko, 52, was shot dead on Saturday night by unknown gunmen in his home. Reports from Eswatini, formerly known as Swaziland, show that the assassins shot him through the window while he was in the house with his family.

A group of human rights defenders from Eastern Africa has condemned the gruesome assassination of Maseko. In a statement, the activists, who were angered by the cowardly murder of their colleague, called for the arrest of perpetrators.

“We stand in solidarity with his family, human rights lawyers, citizens of Eswatini and the whole Southern Africa region that grieves the loss of an impeccable human being that transcended the self to offer his knowledge and experience in amplifying the distraught situation in his country, which is why, as fellow Human Rights Defenders, we must now speak for him and demand justice and accountability for his death,” read the statement in part.

They demanded that the African Union Leaders lead by example and hold the Government of Eswatini accountable for this extra-judicial killing.

The activists also called for the immediate dismissal of the Eswatini Police Commissioner, under whose command rogue police officers are assassinating citizens.

They further called upon African citizens and human rights defenders globally to arise and demand justice through every legal channel available.

Among the activists that endorsed this statement are Social Justice Centers and HRD Network Uganda, Women Human Rights Defenders Hub -The Hub, Africans Rising, Defenders Coalition, The African Agenda Forum, Tribeless Youth, Red Vests Movement, Protection, International Africa, Coalition For Grassroots Human Rights Defenders-Kenya and PUSSY POWER MOVEMENT.

Others are Freedom Movement Uganda, HAKI Africa, Mzalendo Halisi Foundation, Kongamano La Mapinduzi, Feminist for peace rights and justice centre, Bunge Mashinani Initiative, Grassroot Defenders Focus- Uganda, Mathare Social Justice Center, Law Society of Kenya and Social Justice Centers Working Group.

Maseko is well known for being one of those advocating for Eswatini’s electoral changes. In 2014, he was jailed for reportedly criticizing the judiciary’s lack of independence. However, he was released a year later.

He had also sued King Mswati III for changing the country’s name from Swaziland to Eswatini, arguing it was unconstitutional.



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