Saturday, January 10, 2009


Mfomfo Nkambule, a former Swaziland Cabinet Minister who writes for the kingdom’s only independent daily newspaper, the Times of Swaziland, was hauled before the state police Intelligence Unit and told that his weekly articles in the newspaper would incite people to revolt against King Mswati III.

Nkambule, who is also chairman of the Inhlava Forum political party, was told if he criticised the kingagain he could face 20 years in jail.

It is believed that the police were particularly angry about an article written by Nkambule and published in the Times on Monday 5 January 2009.

Below is an extended extract from that article. To read the full article, click here.

When I talk about leadership in Swaziland I am not referring to any of the king’s messengers (Liqoqo, Cabinet, Border Adjustment Committee, MPs, Judicial officers, etc) but to His majesty King Mswati III. In this country, there is no decision that can be made / taken by anyone or a group of people unless the king is involved, especially if that particular decision will affect a number of His Majesty’s subjects. Without the involvement of the king nothing gets done. This is not normal in today’s world but some of His Majesty’s subjects have learned to accept such a set-up and would go to great lengths to defend it.

To me, this set-up is unhealthy and not good for the kingdom and also a threat to the health of the king. Anybody believing it’s the best for Swaziland could be influenced by teachings of the past, as well as exploitation of the Swazi custom. His Majesty has to come to terms with the fact that he is leading people who are far different from the ones who were led by His Majesty King Sobhuza II. There may be similarities between the two groups, but King Mswati III’s group has more challenges than the other and is becoming quite a challenge to the king to lead.

‘Your Majesty, your subjects are not asking much from you but the right to life as the prevailing situation has driven them to a point where they are beginning to believe that you are the one holding the key to their right to life. This key to the right to life comes with the transfer of power to the majority of your subjects’. I am not concerned that much about the past, but I am concerned about today, tomorrow and the years to come. You will agree with me that under the leadership of His Majesty King Mswati III, this nation is sinking because it is standing on quick sand.

What makes it worse is that His Majesty is leading people whose majority has not been given the survival skills in a quick sand environment. When one is all by oneself, there is no way one may avoid sinking in a quick sand situation.

His Majesty is all by himself (as highlighted in last week’s article) and is sinking rapidly, whilst his subjects are watching him but shouting "there is a big rock 2m deep and we are going for assistance 2km away! Hang on Your Majesty!" They do not realise that the king is 1.78m tall. Is there really a Swazi who is a friend to the king?

Who has been a friend or a close acquaintance of His Majesty for the last 10 – 20 years? If there could be a Swazi who could raise his/her hand and tell me that he/she has been an acquaintance of the king for the period stated above I would conclude that he/she is lying. If such a relationship has existed between the king and any of his subjects, then it would be interesting to find out as to who benefited from the relationship.

I am sure you would understand if I told you that most of the time it would be the subject benefiting from such a relationship with the king. If the king were to benefit anything, then the king would expose himself to blackmail, which would ultimately lead to evil practices in places you would never imagine.

Those who get acquainted to the king do so at a very high expense to the majority of His Majesty’s subjects. I have had an opportunity to engage some of His Majesty’s subjects, who have had the chance to get to know the king better than you and me.


They have told me that it is very difficult to be of any value to the king because he has a way of getting a majority of those acquainted with him to lose their natural bearings. This makes me realise that the king will never be in an environment where he may learn a thing or two from those he mingles with.

Those who try to make sense are easily marginalised and they end up doing what everybody (in the group) does without fail (visiting the bank on pay-day). It is very obvious that there is no structure that is responsible for giving sound advice and guidance to His Majesty in as far as leadership is concerned. It is all a game of chance when it comes to finding the best decisions for the majority of the people of Swaziland.

The king has not acquainted himself with any Head of State in the region, who could be of some assistance to him for the benefit of his subjects.

The king talks and listens to himself. This is why he came up with committees like Liqoqo, Cabinet, Border Adjustment, Ludzidzini, etc. These are all an expense to His Majesty’s subjects but not to the king because the king talks and listens to himself. We have left everything to the unknown gods of this kingdom and this is not acceptable. The mistakes being made by my king are becoming many and this is sending a bad signal to the common man in the street because his confidence on his beloved king is being eroded at a pace greater than it can be regained. The king must be conscious of the fact that whilst we do not have power in this kingdom to do what is right for ourselves, we are beginning to use our brains to bring about the necessary change needed to live today, tomorrow and many years to come.

We strongly believe that we have a potential of living a lifestyle better than the one offered to us by the present political set-up. We, at Inhlava, have realised that our strength is in the people of Swaziland realising the opportunities that lie ahead for them under a new political set-up, where they will be able to make decisions for themselves and their children.

We have realised that in the midst of all the social challenges facing us as a people, our strength is in believing what we can be and what we can do when we change the political set-up.

The present political set-up, under the leadership of the king has been successful in showing us our weaknesses as a people. It has not put us in positions where we could have exploited or utilised opportunities that came our way. When Inhlava changes the current political set-up with the support of the majority of Swazis, it shall be able to set up standards that will be endorsed by the majority.

His Majesty King Mswati III cannot transform the people he leads because knowingly / unknowingly he has taught them to look up to him for initiatives, yet for decades there have not been any initiatives that have increased the standard of living for the majority. We have taken the initiative to re-organise ourselves after enduring pain and hardships beyond human endurance.

Seeing that nobody cares about our basic needs and our children’s dreams, we have fought our old selves (submissive, conformist, etc) and have emerged victorious. In our commitment to transform ourselves to a better people, capable of making best decisions for ourselves, we shall police ourselves so that each Swazi man/woman may live a purposeful lifestyle.

There shall never again be a majority that will be passive on issues that affect its well-being and progress as such an environment breeds a culture in which dishonest people thrive very well and end up being role models, who do not pass on the desirable values and principles needed for nation building. Inhlava members shall be meeting this week to discuss a major strategy that will result in Swazis taking their new positions in the affairs of this country.

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