– By Peter Kenworthy According to a statement today from PUDEMO national spokesperson, Zakhele Mabuza, Wonder Mkhonza has been granted a bail of 15 000 emalangeni, approximately $1,650. Wonder Mkhonza was arrested on April 12 for allegedly possessing 5 …

Walton Pantland

Wonder Mkhonza

– By Peter Kenworthy

According to a statement today from PUDEMO national spokesperson, Zakhele Mabuza, Wonder Mkhonza has been granted a bail of 15 000 emalangeni, approximately $1,650. Wonder Mkhonza was arrested on April 12 for allegedly possessing 5,000 political pamphlets, and the international ACT Now: Free Wonder Mkhonza campaign started by Africa Contact has called for his release ever since.

“This is quite a huge ransom to pay for ordinary poor Swazis who live on under $1 per day,” says the statement. “But Leo Gama, Wonder’s lawyer has been able to convince the court and secure the release on bail.”

Mabuza thanked those who had campaigned for Wonder’s release, but insisted that Wonder remained a political prisoner even though he was released on bail. “The ransom he is to pay for his freedom is only meant to keep him away from the prison while out there he is still a prisoner. He joins a growing list of many political prisoners who are all our members that have been out on bail, but their cases are deliberately not finalized. In the process these are suffering from the extremely stringent conditions that are imposed on them. Such include unreasonable reporting at a police station and the removal of their freedom to travel outside Swaziland.”

The fight for the release of political prisoners such as Wonder is linked directly to the fight for democracy and human rights in Africa’s last absolute monarchy, said the statement. “However difficult the route to democracy might be, we are never intimidated and we shall continue to call for the release of all political prisoners; respect for people’s rights; unbanning of all political parties; and the democratization of the country’s politics.”

– Peter Kenworthy is a correspondent for Africa Contact


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Walton Pantland

South African trade unionist living in Glasgow. Loves whisky, wine, running and the great outdoors. Walton did an MA in Industrial Relations at Ruskin, Oxford, and is interested in how trade unions use new technology to organise.

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