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Friday, 22 November, 2002, 13:43 GMT
Exorcism after Swazi witch hunt
Swazi reed dance (photo: Chris Hughes)
The king's brides are chosen at the annual reed dance
A church pastor has performed a ceremony to cleanse the offices of Swaziland's director of public prosecutions (DPP) in the latest twist in a court case which is threatening Africa's most traditional state.

DPP Lincoln Ng'arua says he has video footage of government officials performing "rituals of unbelievable depravity" after breaking into his office on Tuesday night.

King Mswati (photo: Chris Hughes)
The king is under pressure to modernise
The break-in follows an order from the justice minister that Mr Ng'arua should resign or be sacked after he pressed charges of sedition against attorney general Phesheya Dlamini for harassing judges.

Those judges were hearing a court case brought against royal aides by a woman who alleged that her 18-year-old daughter was abducted to become the 10th wife of King Mswati III.

That court case and the ensuing fall-out have gripped the public imagination and pitted traditionalists against those who believe the king should lose some of his absolute powers.

'Immoral'

Reverend Advent Dlamini, wearing a white cassock, read out biblical verses condemning devilish activities in Mr Ng'arua's office in front of journalists and the entire staff, reports the BBC's Tom Holloway in Mbabane.

Mr Ng'arua had previously shown journalists footage from a video camera he had installed in his office after refusing to resign his post.

The king's first wife, Queen LaMbikiza
King Mswati's first wife is a practising lawyer

That shows a senior official from the justice ministry breaking in on Thursday night and paying someone to change the locks, before staring straight at the camera and then disconnecting the electricity supply.

Mr Ng'arua said that he had recorded another break-in on Tuesday night, when the alleged witchcraft was performed.

He said that film was "too immoral" for him to show, or even describe in public, but said it was now in a "secure place".

Mr Ng'arua has said that he will only leave his job if his contract, which runs until 2005, is paid in full, and if he is paid the costs of relocating to his home country of Kenya.

The original court case against the royal aides was eventually postponed indefinitely after the girl, Zena Mahlangu, told her mother that she did not mind becoming a queen.

Our correspondent says that most Swazis believe that the king's advisors are to blame for this affair and their actions are helping opponents of the monarchy and their calls for reforming Swaziland's political system.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Lincoln Ng'arua on BBC Network Africa
"No-one can apply pressure on me to drop the charges"
See also:

18 Nov 02 | Africa
01 Nov 02 | Africa
17 Oct 02 | Africa
03 Jun 02 | Africa
12 Nov 01 | Africa
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