Jailed Swazi trade union leader Wonder Mkhonza
Get union leader out of Swazi jail: Take action today
I wrote last week about the protests in Swaziland marking the 40th anniversary of Africa’s longest state of emergency. The Swazi security services sank to a new low, bursting in on a Catholic Church funeral because they suspected it was an illegal protest meeting and only leaving when the coffin actually arrived.
But they also arrested the organiser of one protest meeting, Wonder Mkhonza, Secretary General of the Swaziland Processing Allied Workers Union. His comrades are worried that he hasn’t been seen since he was detained on Friday. They say that the normal reason why lawyers and family members can’t visit people who’ve been seized is because they’re being tortured, and the police don’t want the evidence to be too obvious.
You can take action by signing an online petition to be sent to the Swazi Minister for Foreign Affairs, initiated by the National Union of Metalworkers in South Africa (NUMSA), Wonder’s sister union.
Wonder was arrested for allegedly being in possession of literature from the TUC’s sister organisation the Trades Union Congress of Swaziland (TUCOSWA) which has been refsued recognition on spurious grounds, and pamphlets from the banned political party the People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO), of which he is National Organising Secretary.
It is believed that he is now in jail in Nhlangano in the South of Swaziland after he was transferred from Lavumisa – the small town near the South African border where he was arrested – on Saturday evening.
UPDATE 18/4/13: Wonder has now been officially charged with sedition, for possession of 5,000 political leaflets. His bail has been refused and a trial date set for 24 April. The petition for his freedom still stands, so please sign now and share it, ahead of his trial.