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US Has No Right to Interfere in Eswatini's Judicial System, Official Says

© FlickrFlag of the Kingdom of Eswatini
Flag of the Kingdom of Eswatini - Sputnik Africa, 1920, 03.06.2023
On Thursday, almost two years after their arrest, a high court in the Kingdom of Eswatini found two former opposition members of parliament, Mduduzi Bacede Mabuza and Mthandeni Dube, guilty of inciting riots during protests for "political reforms" in the country that led to deaths in 2021.
The government of Eswatini has strongly criticized a statement issued by the United States Embassy in the southern African nation regarding the recent conviction of two local politicians by the High Court in the country's capital, Mbabane.
The government accused the US diplomatic mission of interfering in the country's judicial system and stressed that it would defend the kingdom's sovereignty.

"The Kingdom of Eswatini has always respected the sovereignty of other nations and refrained from interfering in their internal affairs," Eswatini government spokesman Alpheous Nxumalo said in a statement on Friday. "The genuine question now is what right does the US Embassy in Eswatini have to interfere with our Kingdom’s judicial verdicts?"

The Eswatini government cited the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, which prohibits diplomats from interfering in the internal affairs of the receiving or host states.
The controversy began after the High Court in Mbabane convicted former opposition MPs Mduduzi Bacede Mabuza and Mthandeni Dube of inciting unrest during protests in 2021 advocating political reforms in the country, which resulted in the loss of lives. The conviction came after a trial that lasted nearly two years.
Following the court's decision, the US diplomatic mission in the southern African country issued a statement expressing its disagreement with the legal process.
In this Monday Sept. 3, 2012 file photo Eswatini's King, Mswati III, front, dances during a Reed Dance in Mbabane.   - Sputnik Africa, 1920, 19.04.2023
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"The US embassy is deeply disappointed by the June 1 guilty verdict for members of parliament Mduduzi Bacede Mabuza and Mthandeni Dube," the embassy's statement read. "We call on the government of Eswatini to exercise transparency in judicial processes and protect the rule of law and human rights. All Emaswati must have equal protection under the law, including those who voice dissent or call for non-violent reform."
Eswatini spokesman Nxumalo responded by pointing out some of the controversial actions of the US administration, including the creation of Guantanamo Bay in Cuba "to incarcerate the so-called terrorists" and the use of military force without due process during the political chaos on January 6, 2021, when supporters of former US President Donald Trump vandalized Capitol Hill, citing violations of international law. However, the Eswatini government did not intervene or comment on these matters.
"The Kingdom of Eswatini remains highly committed to safeguard, protect and advance the enduring and warm diplomatic relations between the two States, however partners in a mutual contract must treat each other as such; not treat one as a subordinate state," the government spokesperson said.
Nxumalo noted that the two convicted politicians have the option of appealing the verdicts to higher courts under the legal system of the Kingdom of Eswatini.