Swaziland
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CPS MEMBER WILL DISTURB ELECTIONS IF RELEASED, SAYS CROWN

MBABANE – The prosecution and the police say CPS member Mvuselelo Mkhabela has the potential to influence other people to do more disruptions during the 2023 National General Elections.  

The Crown then beseeched the court not to admit him on bail. Mkhabela (21) of Nsingizini under Chief Sisusa is the member of the Communist Party of Swaziland (CPS) who was engaged in a scuffle with a police officer at KaLiba and got shot in the lower part of his leg. This was during the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) civic and voter education exercise at the chiefdom. He was arrested around Kwaluseni during another EBC exercise, after being noticed by police officers as he made a submission.

Mkhabela has been charged with assault, malicious injury to property and common assault. He now wants out of jail and has moved an urgent bail application at the High Court. Same is, however, being met with resistance from the prosecution. In his opposing affidavit the investigator of the matter, Sergeant Dlamini, submitted that it would not be in the interest of justice to release the applicant (Mkhabela) on bail.

“The country is currently engaged in the exercise of conducting free and fair elections which need not to be disturbed by persons such as the applicant. His release will not be in the interest of justice as this may disturb public peace and order,” contended the investigator.  It was further his averments that the applicant had the potential of influencing other people to conduct themselves in a manner that was in breach of the law.

“This will lead to more disruptions during the elections. The applicant has already depicted signs of disrespect by assaulting police officers and also disrupting a civic education exercise that was conducted by the EBC,” he argued. He related to the court that Mkhabela and his cohorts allegedly went to a gathering where officials from EBC had come to conduct civic education regarding the upcoming elections in the country.  

Investigator

The investigator recounted that on the day in question, the constituency headman stood up to address the gathering and that was when Mkhabela and his legion started shouting foul-tasting words, with the intention of disrupting the proceedings. According to the investigator, police officers who were within the vicinity then came through in order to maintain law and order, but Mkhabela and his associates allegedly continued to disturb the proceeding.

Sergeant Dlamini continued to state that Mkhabela and his cohorts allegedly prevented the police from doing their job by pelting them with stones. Mkhabela, as per the investigator, further hit a police car with stones, which was in the process damaged. “After the disruptions, some police officers, who were travelling in a white double cab, came to see what was happening, along the way they were met by a hail of stones coming from the bush directed at them and the car they were travelling in. They tried to reason with the attacker,” submitted Sergeant Dlamini.

He alleged that despite being admonished by the police officer to desist from his action, he allegedly persisted. The investigator brought it to the attention of the court that the police then decided to retaliate and with the aim of arresting the applicant and his associates, they (police officers) pursued them.  

He alleged that four boys including the applicant emerged from the bushes. According to the deponent (investigator) one of the police officers chased the applicant and when he (applicant) realised that he was about to be caught, he allegedly turned back and assaulted the police officer with a stone, hurting him on the mouth.

Shoot

“The officer then decided to shoot at the applicant, thus injuring him in the leg in the process. He was taken to Hlatikhulu Government Hospital where he was admitted,” submitted Sergeant Dlamini. He told the court that the applicant then resurfaced in Matsapha where there was another civic education exercise by the EBC officials at Kwaluseni Primary School on April 15, 2023. Sergeant Dlamini alleged that Mkhabela and his allies again started saying unpalatable words with a view of disrupting the proceedings. This, according to the investigator, was then reported to the police who were present on that day.

“The police came closer and they realised that he was the accused in the cases that were committed at KaLiba. He then tried to flee but the police were able to apprehend him and he was found in possession of a dangerous weapon,” averred the law enforcer. The applicant, according to the police, conducted himself in a manner which demonstrated that he had no respect for members of the Royal Eswatini Police Service (REPS). Mkhabela is said to have allegedly disregarded that the police were there to protect them, in that he purportedly continued to be unruly and ignored all the warnings, resulting in him being shot.

“His conduct shows that he has no respect for the law and he cannot be trusted to respect any court order if he were to be released, since bail comes with conditions,” argued the investigator. Sergeant Dlamini said the police were able to identify Mkhabela as their assailant. He asserted that the

country was currently engaged in the exercise of conducting free and fair elections, which did not need to be disturbed by people like Mkhabela. Meanwhile, in his application for bail, Mkhabela informed the court that he was innocent of the charges and would exonerate himself during his trial.
He argued that he was confident that he had a strong defence. Mkhabela told the court that he was currently incarcerated at Nhlangano Correctional Facility and was now desirous to be admitted to bail.  It was also his contention that his continued detention was unfair and allegedly not in the interest of justice.   

Mkhabela further told the court that he had been advised that bail applications were urgent by their very nature as they touched on freedom protected by the Constitution. “I am a student at Gwamile Voctim in Matsapha, therefore, my continued detention impacts negatively on my academic life,” he argued.  

The bail application was due to be heard yesterday but was postponed as Judge Khontaphi Manzini is yet to go through the papers that were filed by both parties. The Crown is represented by Lomkhosi Dlamini from the chamber of the director of public prosecutions (DPP), while for Mkhabela is Sabelo Makhubu of Makhubu-Mdluli Attorneys.