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Police stop AUDP rally



MANZINI – Police prevented a political rally organised by the African United Demo-cratic Party (AUDP) at Mhlaleni on Saturday.

Though the rally was attended by just 12 AUDP members, there were an estimated 80 police officers present.

From as early as 10am the AUDP members, mostly comprised of male youths, had assembled near the shops and were conversing among themselves. Police were also visible under the highway bridge, in market places and along the main roads.

When they saw it was time for the rally to begin, the youth sang the South African national anthem and struggle song, ‘Nkosi Sikelela’i Africa’.

The police did not wait for them to finish the anthem and interrupted them, saying the gathering must disperse.

The police then confiscated a banner belonging to the political party, much against the will of the youth. Despite holding onto the banner, the youths failed to dissuade the police from taking it.

About 20 officers then came to drive the party members further away from the area and said they must stop the gathering. Meanwhile, members of the public watched, some sympathising with the youth.

As they were driven off, the political activists were asking: “what crime have we committed? The Constitution allows for freedom of assembly. Charge us if we have committed a crime.”

Though other members of the party backed down, Secretary General Sibusiso Dlamini stood adamant and single-handedly took the police on, accusing them of failing to arrest criminals.

The police later told the youth to fetch the banner from the Matsapha Police Station at a later stage.

In an interview the AUDP members said the police were wrong to disperse them from the area because they were merely implementing their right to freedom of assembly.

“The police are violating the very Constitution they seek to protect. This is not the first time that our rally was met with resistance from the police.

“They did a similar thing in 2009 when we held a rally to push for free primary education. We also held a similar rally in Manzini which was also blocked for no reason,” Dlamini said.

He said the main aim of the rally was to call for the registration of political parties to take part in the general elections in 2013.

“If political parties will not be able to take part in the elections, then there must be no elections at all,” Dlamini said.

Also part of the AUDP gathering were Vice President Nsizwa Ngwenya, Organising Secretary of Manzini Region Velibanti Dlamini and National Commissar of Youth Mlungisi Ndzimandze.

AUDP boss lashes out at the police

MHLALENI – Sibusiso Dlamini, the Secretary General of the African United Democratic Party, caused a stir when he single-handedly launched a verbose tirade on a contingent of police officers.

Dlamini told the police that they were ‘law-breakers’ who had strayed from their mandate of maintaining peace and security but were disturbing them instead.

The police tried to ignore Dlamini but his comments were too conspicuous to wish away as onlookers, speaking to themselves, said he was right.

“Too many people are corrupt but you are not arresting them. They are weighing down the economy and getting away with it,” he pointed out.

His verbal attack lasted 20 minutes, while the police ignored him. His colleagues stood with the crowd, while he stood alone facing the police officers.