The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) is deeply saddened by the passing of an internationalist and revolutionary leader of our time, Comrade Amos Mbulaheni Mbedzi (57), who lowered his flag on the morning of the 7th of June 2022 in Polokwane Provincial Hospital, South Africa, while serving an 85-year sentence after conviction by King Mswati III’s absolutism courts in 2012.
Comrade Mbedzi was wrongly arrested in September 2008 for contravening the country’s Terrorism Act and sentenced to 85 years for his alleged involvement in a bomb explosion which claimed the lives of his two accomplices Musa “MJ” Dlamini and Jack Govender. The government of Swaziland claimed that Mbedzi and the two deceased set up a bomb to blow up a bridge, after receiving information that King Mswati would be travelling on that bridge. According to the Communist Party of Swaziland (CPS), however, when the Swaziland government failed to prove a case of terrorism against Mbedzi they arbitrarily changed his charge to that of murder for the deaths of his accomplices.
Whilst Comrade Mbedzi was held in the Swazi prison, in 2014, the SACP, joined by COSATU, CPS, SSN and several organisations in the Swaziland pro-democracy movement launched the Release Amos Mbedzi Campaign, which not only called for the release of Comrade Mbedzi but that of all pollical prisoners in Swaziland. It is upsetting that the Swazi government failed to heed our call, and today, just two months after being handed over to prison authorities in his home country, South Africa, Umkhonto Wesizwe former member and SACP member Comrade Mbedzi is no more.
Comrades, the most befitting way to honour Comrade Mbedzi’s legacy is to continue with the fight for a free and democratic Swaziland. COSATU continues to pledge its commitment and solidarity to the people of Swaziland. We call on all progressive forces to agitate for the economic and political isolation of the Mswati government. We also continue to call for the release of all political prisoners in Swaziland, who are being incarcerated with no trial, under inhumane conditions.
Comrade Mbedzi died, not because his time had come, but because he was tortured, starved, and deprived of medical attention when he suffered a stroke and required serious medical attention whilst in the Swazi prison. The regime delivered a slow, inhumane and painful death to him by tormenting and draining the life out of him in the cruellest manner, and (then) sent him to a South African prison in an attempt to sanitize his image from the unjust incarceration that led to his untimely death.
COSATU vows to continue the struggle for Swaziland’s liberation from the rule of King Mswati III, the last absolute monarch in Africa, for which Mbedzi paid the ultimate price.
The federation conveys its deepest and heartfelt sympathies to the Mbedzi family, the Swazi people, progressive forces in support of the Swazi struggle, colleagues and friends of the late Comrade Amos. We wish them strength and comfort during this difficult time.
Rest in power, Mbedzi. Long live the spirit of Amos Mbedzi!!
Issued by COSATU
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