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t4_header03/05/2015 05:36:00BY MFANUKHONA NKAMBULE

MBABANE – The African United Democratic Party (AUDP) calls for immediate withdrawal of criminal charges preferred against Chief Justice Michael Ramodibedi and Sibusiso Shongwe, the former Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs.
The party, whose president and founder is Sibusiso Dlamini (not the prime minister, also calls for withdrawal of criminal charges against Justice Jacobus Annandale, Justice Mpendulo Simelane and Fikile Nhlabatsi, the Registrar of the High Court of Swaziland.

His call for the release the CJ and his subordinates is based on Section 141 and 158 of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Swaziland. He said judges should be impeached first before they could be arrested.
According to Dlamini, it was the outcome of the impeachment that would determine validity or invalidity of the criminal charges.
As a result, the AUDP believes it is a violation of the Constitution and breakdown in the rule of law to arrest members of the Judiciary and executives before impeachment.
The legal dictionary defines impeachment as a formal process in which an official is accused of unlawful activity, the outcome of which, depending on the country, may include the removal of that official from office as well as criminal or civil punishment
“The criminal prosecutions against the aforementioned members is nothing else but a political strategy of the government and its agencies to suppress, harass, victimise and prevent the members of the three branches of Government from exercising their constitutional and international obligations.”
The AUDP president said failure to adhere to the dictates of the Constitution constituted a crime of treason as articulated in Section 2 of the Constitution.
Reads the Section 141 quoted by the AUDP president: “In the exercise of the judicial power of Swaziland, the Judiciary, in both its judicial and administrative functions, including financial administration, shall be independent and subject only to this Constitution, and shall not be subject to the control or direction of any person or authority.”
Subsection 2 reads: “Neither the Crown nor Parliament nor any person acting under the authority of the Crown or Parliament or any person whatsoever shall interfere with judges nor judicial officers nor other persons exercising judicial power, in the exercise of their judicial functions.”