Lobamba: Acting Prime Minister Themba Nhlanganiso Masuku says Thabani Nkhomonye’s inquest is expected to be held in public as the government wants nothing to be hidden.
This comes after the Times of Eswatini raised a question if the inquest into death of Thabani Nkhomye be public. The question came after the media was barred from covering the registration process of people who wanted to make submissions regarding Nkhomonye’s death.
“You will recall, Mr. Speaker, that we have witnessed events of grave concern following the death of a citizen, Thabani Nkomonye, whose death has led to allegations of improper conduct levelled against the police,” said Masuku.
Masuku said the government take these allegations seriously as government have a duty to fully protect the lives of all emaSwati, a right they hold sacrosanct.
He said on May 17, 2021, the government acted swiftly to set up a Judicial Inquest and appointed Senior Magistrate Nonhlanhla Dlamini as Coroner to investigate the circumstances leading to Nkomonye’s death. He said the Coroner has duly begun her duties and it was expected that the inquest to be held in public as we want nothing hidden.
The Acting PM said Fair justice depends on facts and can only be adequately administered by the court hence the process of the inquest was put in place by Government.
He implored all those who have an interest in this matter and process to refrain from intimidating the structures that must provide all that is required to serve justice in a transparent manner.
He added that Eswatini is a Nation that respects life, a Nation anchored on peace, stability and dialogue and we have no room for anything that goes against our national values and ethos that have kept this nation united for hundreds of years.
On another note, the Acting PM said as government they were shaken to witness the unprofessional conduct blatantly displayed by some police officers as depicted in a video recorded a couple of weeks ago.
On that matter Masuku said he had been assured by the National Commissioner of Police that a disciplinary process against these police officers is underway.
“Their behaviour is unacceptable and negates the ethical conduct expected from the Police Service. At the same time, we do want to understand the reasons behind such a strange behaviour from some police because we need to fix the root cause once and for all to avoid similar occurrences in future.”
He added that the protest which took place on May 17, was an unjustified protest march which was totally uncalled for since the government had swiftly started the process to investigate the allegations surrounding the painful death of Thabani Nkomonye.
He said the protesters increase beyond regulated levels of public gatherings, breaking COVID-19 Regulations which are aimed at protecting the nation from this deadly virus.
On the ugly situation that took place during Thabani’s memorial on Friday, May 20, Masuku said as government they do not condone police violence where it rears its head as police were expected at all times to conduct themselves professionally and within the confines of their ethos.
Masuku said the protesters who vandalized the Fairview police post took away an important national asset which the electorate of Manzini North had requested for years for their protection against rising crime.
“The events of the memorial service are quite unfortunate as they came at a time when the family had written to Government specifically asking for police protection as they wanted to keep such a solemn occasion peaceful without violence of any kind. It was unfortunate that this event was eventually turned into a violent scene, hurting the family who were in grief and attracting people who were not related to the family as well,” said the Acting PM.