Tuesday, February 10, 2009


I see that the Swazi Observer, the newspaper in effect owned by King Mswati III, has taken to calling Swaziland’s illegally-appointed Prime Minister Barnabas Dlamini, ‘Doctor Dlamini’.

In the real world a ‘doctor’ is someone with a recognised medical certification or a person who has attained the qualification of doctorate (for example a PhD). Barnabas Dlamini falls into neither of these categories.

Upon closer examination it turns out that Barnabas was given an honorary doctorate from the state-run, University of Swaziland. And this will make you laugh when you remember how during his first term as PM he totally ignored legitimate court rulings; he was ‘awarded’ the title ‘doctor of laws’.

Honorary doctorates (and lesser degrees) are often awarded by universities to people who have made extraordinary contributions to society. They are meant as recognition of achievement, but they are meant to be cosmetic. The holder of an ‘honorary’ doctorate is not supposed to pass themselves off as the real thing. Most people who receive such honours know this: Nelson Mandela has goodness knows how many honorary degrees but he wouldn’t dream of passing himself off as ‘Doctor Mandela.’

Poor Barnabas, not only is he a bogus prime minister (he was never elected), he’s also a bogus doctor.

There is a twist in the tail. Dlamini’s ‘doctorate’ was awarded by the University of Swaziland, but no student has ever graduated from the university with a doctorate degree.

The level of educational achievement at the university is so low that there are doubts that it should be called a ‘university’ at all. Consider these statistics: in 2006, 49.7 percent of the 1,370 students who graduated received certificates and diplomas, while 49.3 percent got bachelor degrees. Hardly anyone studies for graduate qualifications: that year, 14 students received masters degrees while only 51 students were studying for masters degrees in the whole university.

Poor ‘Doctor’ Dlamini, his scroll really isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on.

Click here to see Dlamini’s full curriculum vitae.

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