Posts Tagged ‘Thulani Maseko’

Another case of misused star power: Erykah Badu performs for Swaziland dictator

April 30, 2014

In the series of ‘star power’ for bad causes, American R&B singer Erykah Badu attended the 46th birthday party of King Mswati III of Swaziland on Thursday 24 April, where she sang “Happy Birthday” and dedicated her first song to the “sons of Kings”. The singer has been involved in a number of philanthropic ventures, including Artists for a New South Africa, which works to “advance human rights,” but her visit to Swaziland does not seem to fit in with this. Jeffrey Smith, an advocacy officer at the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights, said it was “highly unfortunate that someone of Erykah Badu’s international stature would use her star power for inherently reprehensible reasons — namely, to provide legitimacy, and, in a sense, endorse a brutal dictator who both manages and directs every facet of Africa’s last absolute monarchy.

Journalist Bkheki Makhubu and human rights lawyer Thulani Maseko are currently imprisoned in Swaziland https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2014/03/19/swaziland-should-immediately-release-two-human-rights-defenders-arrested-on-17-march/ 

On Monday, Miss Badu tweeted: “I have no political affiliation to anything besides my AFRO. However, I will stand with any group opposing injustice. But not on twitter.” She then retweeted a comment by a man named Joe Black that read: “[Erykah Badu] owes NOBODY an explanation of why she performed in Swaziland. She’s a professional artist, not some phony rights defender.” Remarkably on Tuesday, Miss Badu tweeted that she was not paid for the Swaziland event.

via Human rights groups demand answers after Erykah Badu performs for Swaziland dictator – Washington Times.

for other posts on star power see: https://thoolen.wordpress.com/tag/star-power/

Swaziland should immediately release two Human Rights Defenders arrested on 17 March

March 19, 2014

Swaziland should immediately release Mr. Thulani Maseko and Mr. Bheki Makhubu, the Pan-African Human Rights Defenders Network said today. The human rights defenders (the first a lawyer and the second a journalist) were arrested on Monday 17 March 2014, reportedly in response to articles published in a national magazine. Maseko is a prominent human rights lawyer working at the national and regional levels, a senior member of Lawyers for Human Rights Swaziland and the Southern Africa Human Rights Defenders Network, which is part of the Pan-African Human Rights Defenders Network. Makhubu is the Editor-in-Chief of the Nation. The two men were arrested under the same warrant, issued by Chief Justice Ramodibedi, on charges of “scandalizing the judiciary” and contempt of court. Their lawyer was not permitted to represent the pair when they were jointly charged on 18 March 2014. They have been remanded pending a bail hearing on 24 March 2014. The charges are apparently in relation to articles published in the Nation Magazine questioning the circumstances surrounding the arrest of Chief Government Vehicle Inspector, Bhantshana Gwebu. Mr. Gwebu had been arrested and charged with contempt of court after he arrested the driver of a High Court judge. As an absolute monarchy, the King of Swaziland has the discretionary power to suspend constitutional rights such as freedom of expression and in practice these rights are frequently curtailed. Mr. Maseko has previously been charged with sedition for public statements made.“Human rights defenders must be able to speak out on issues of public interest,” said Hassan Shire, Chairperson of the Pan-African Human Rights Defenders Network. “We call on the Swaziland authorities to drop the charges against Mr Maseko and Mr Makhubu and allow them to continue with their important work.

via Swaziland: Release Human Rights Defender and Journalist – East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project.