By Samkelisiwe Khoza | 2018-11-21
A group of ‘concerned citizens’ yesterday marched to the Manzini Police Regional Headquarters calling for the arrest of a prince and his friend who are alleged to have drugged and raped a University of Eswatini (UNESWA) student a few months back.
A petition calling for the arrest of a prince and his friend who are alleged to have drugged and raped a UNESWA student has been put up to put pressure on the police to arrest the suspects.
The petition was put up on Monday night by an organisation calling itself ‘Say No to Rape’ at changer.org website. By the following morning, the petition had garnered over 400 signatures.
By yesterday afternoon, the petition had over 60 comments from members of the public, and was at 1 500 signatures by the time of going to print.
The petition is titled, ‘Arrest Swazi prince for rape, equality before the law; justice for the victim’.
It is widely circulated on social media platforms, especially Facebook and WhatsApp where it has been shared by most users.
A group of ‘concerned citizens’ also met with the Manzini Regional Station Comamnder Raphael ‘Sikheshekheshe’ Maseko yesterday in an effort to intensify the calls for the long arm of the law to be unleashed on the rape suspects.
The meeting has been confirmed by Chief Police Information and Communications Officer Superintendent Phindile Vilakati. She said the members of the public had initially intended to seek an appointment with the station commander for a date to deliver the online petition.
“However, the station commander welcomed them with both hands, and granted them the audience,” Vilakati said.
The concerned Emaswati then raised their concern fuelled by what they said was deafening silence over this incident which occurred two months ago.
They further expressed sheer frustration with the fact that no one has been arrested after the alleged student’s rape.
Reports only suggest that a docket was turned back in court after it was presented to the prosecutor under the pretext that some few things were needed to be finalised before the case could be brought to court.
Reads the petition in part: “A prince and his friend are accused of allegedly kidnapping, drugging and raping a teenage UNESWA student. She has reported the matter to the police and despite this, neither the prince nor his friend have been arrested. There are allegations that the victim has recently been harassed and intimidated by the perpetrators. The victim has also been offered an overseas scholarship if she drops the charges. Section 20 of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Eswatini provides for equality before the all. The prince, like all other accused persons, must be arrested prosecuted and let the courts of law decide his fate. The law must not have eyes!’’
The concerned parties have made it clear that they want police to arrest both the prince and his friend and further give the people of Eswatini periodic updates on the matter.
Superintendent Phindile Vilakati said police appreciate the concerns raised in this petition.
She assured that police are still investigating the matter and they would soon give feedback.
Vilakati said what must be noted is that cases of this nature cannot be investigated overnight. She gave an assurance that the case would eventually be taken to court as it is only for the Director of Public Prosecutions to decide on whether a case can proceed with prosecution or not.
Vilakati said any criminal matter brought to the police is taken to court.
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