In the calm shadows of impunity, the deafening silence surrounding the assassination of human rights lawyer Thulani Maseko hangs heavy. Justice, once Maseko’s weapon of choice, now lies silenced with him.
Over 365 days have passed since the Southern Africa Litigation Centre, SALC, received the devastating news of the assassination of renowned human rights lawyer Thulani Maseko at his home in Eswatini. The circumstances in which his life was mercilessly taken came at a time when he and many like-minded citizens of Eswatini continued to battle an oppressive and brutal political system. The fight seems far from over.
The investigation into the assassination, a flickering candle in the wind, sputters and dims, its feeble light failing to pierce the intricate corridors of power where the truth hides. We can see this demonstrated by the scathing attacks from the government through both Prime Minister Russell Dlamini and Spokesperson Alpheous Nxumalo, on Maseko’s widow, Tanele Maseko, and human rights organisations calling for justice and accountability for finality into the assassination.
Accountability, or moral consequence even, remains elusive, hanging beyond the grasp of grieving hearts and demanding voices. Every unanswered question underscores despair; every stone unturned is a monument to the arrogance of those who silenced a defender of the vulnerable.
Thulani led the charge against human rights violations and infringements in Eswatini, from land evictions to minority groups. He represented activists who fought against State repression. He spent a year awaiting trial in prison to assert the importance of judicial independence. He was frequently threatened for his outspokenness against the repression caused by the State and the monarchy. He was the principal applicant and lawyer involved in setting aside some clauses of the infamous Suppression of Terrorism Act and Sedition and Subversive Activities Act in 2016 by the High Court.
In this tapestry of injustice, stitched with threads of fear and indifference, Maseko’s legacy becomes a defiant banner, a rallying cry for those who refuse to let the flame of truth be extinguished. Though bruised and battered, the fight for justice continues, a testament to the unwavering spirit of those who believe that the pursuit of light remains necessary and noble even in the face of darkness.
Yet, amidst the sorrow and despair, a flicker of hope persists. Maseko’s voice, though silenced, echoes in the hearts of the oppressed, his work a burning ember igniting the fires of resistance. Every tear shed becomes a lens through which to focus demands for accountability.
The international community, stirred by the audacity of the assassination, lends its voice to the chorus of dissent. Slowly, painfully, the gears of justice must turn, the pressure of scrutiny forcing cracks in the facade of impunity.
The path ahead is gruelling, paved with danger and resistance. However, Maseko’s spirit serves as a compass, guiding the way towards a future where accountability and truth are not mere whispers in the wind but cornerstones of a just world.