Mario Masuku, the leader of the People United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO), an underground political party in Swaziland, is swimming in hot waters. He appeared before the high court in early February charged with sedition, having "uttered words," according to the charge sheet, "that were understood to be likely to incite violence against King Mswati III and his ministers".
Masuku is alleged to have shouted, "Down with King Mswati's government, away with it!" at a public meeting attended by 500 supporters at a bus stop in the capital, Mbabane.
Lincoln Ngarua, director of public prosecutions, told the court that "Masuku's utterances were setting the king against his subjects and likely to make people arm themselves against politicians".
But Piet Ebersohn, Masuku's South African lawyer, argued that his client's statement was not a threat to the king's personal life because he only complained about poor governance and the non-recognition of political parties. Swaziland, being a monarchy, is a non-party state.
Ebersohn said "Masuku is not against the monarch because he met the king twice in a private meeting a week before he was arrested. The meeting focused on Swaziland's political transformation."
The director of...