Rule of law crumbles in Swaziland

A Swaziland High Court judge who has criticised the government in the past for failing to respect court orders, was transferred to a lower court in another setback to the judicial system.

Thomas Masuku (43) who is Swaziland’s youngest judge, was transferred on Thursday night to the Industrial Court a day after the resignation of Chief Justice Stanley Sapire, who quit after news reports that he was in line for a demotion.

“Justice Minister Magwagwa Mdluli announced on Thursday night that Masuku, who was very vocal in denouncing governments decision not to respect the rule of law, was being transferred to the Industrial Court,” the Times of Swaziland reported Friday.

Masuku had said he would not entertain any applications filed by the office of the Attorney General on behalf of government until Prime Minister Sibusiso Dlamini withdrew a statement that saw six Appeals Court judges resigning en masse last November.

In the statement, Dlamini reversed two courts of appeal judgments saying they were in contravention with King Mswati IIIs powers to legislate.

On Wednesday the International Bar Association (IBA) released a report on the judicial crisis in the southern African country, saying urgent intervention was necessary to prevent the rule of law from crumbling. - Sapa-AFP

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