Sabotage of elections tantamount to treason
THE Elections Boundaries Commission (EBC) says those who seek to stand in the way of elections, which is tantamount to treason, will face the wrath of the law.
“Committing the offence of treason entails when a person subverts or shows potential to subvert the activities of the state even if it is without the use of arms, weapons or military equipment subverts,” said Deputy Chairperson Mzwandile Fakudze.
Meanwhile, EBC Chairperson Prince Gija also said those who sought to sabotage the national elections scheduled for this year would face the wrath of the law.
Communist Party of Swaziland (CPS) Chairperson Dumisani Fakudze was previously said to have confirmed that the party sought to derail the elections.
Even though he declined to disclose their strategy, he said they had just returned from a political school for an intensive workshop, where they re-affirmed their stance to disrupt the national elections.
In terms of the general criminal law system, people who disrupt national activities are referred to as traitors and some traitor activity could amount to the crime of treason.
However, in terms of the criminal system of Swaziland, the crime of treason attracts a death penalty hence it is the current judicial attitude that a penalty of death can be reserved for egregious offences like treason.
According to the EBC’s deputy chairperson, the betrayal of one's own country by waging war against it or by consciously opposing or purposely acting to aid its enemies, amounts to the crime of treason.
“Even though the CPS has displayed its intent and is yet to act as intended, such conduct also shows that they have potential to be found guilty of the offence of treason,” he said.
The country’s legal system provides that treason is the violation by a subject of allegiance to the state. Even though most countries will have the crime of treason outlined in their Constitution because of the weight it carries, Swaziland’s Constitution is silent on the offence yet its importance is outlined in the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act.
Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Principal Secretary Thembinkosi Mamba said in terms of the law, whoever threatened to cause a disarray towards the state and where his/her intentions caused one to believe that there would be such a disarray, they would have to answer to the courts why they should not be charged with the crime of treason.
“As a ministry we have not been officially informed of such intent except for what was published in local media.
“However, I must emphasise that we will fully support the law to take its cause against anyone who is brought to answer against the crime of treason because it remains one of the most serious crimes in the country,” he said. Royal Swaziland Police Deputy Public Relations Officer Inspector Khulani Mamba said threats to the state were not taken lightly, especially if such threats were of intent to sabotage national elections because then it becomes the country’s security concern.
“We will be watching closely at such purported actions but will not divulge our reaction plan as it is a concern of security,” he said.
“In any event, if they proceed as planned the law will take its cause because nobody is above the law.”