Tuesday, May 12, 2009


It is not only King Mswati III of Swaziland who is not welcome in South Africa: His mother has also been told to stay away.

Queen Ntombi Laftwala must not attend the inauguration of KwaZulu-Natal premier Zweli Mkhize as it would be an insult to the people of South Africa, the Young Communist League (YCL) says.

According to the South African Press Association, YCL says, ‘[We] call upon the KwaZulu-Natal provincial government not to allow the Swaziland dictator’s mother, Queen Ntombi Laftwala, to attend the inauguration.’

‘The oppressive Tinkundla system led by Queen mother’s son, King Mswati and his family does not uphold and respect democracy and human rights in Swaziland.’

The YCL said King Mswati continued to use state apparatus to ban and silence political organisations who tried to liberate ’the struggling people of Swaziland’.

‘We call on the provincial leadership of the African National Congress and the alliance not to allow this despotic and dictator mother to set foot in our province before his son democratises Swaziland,’ it said.

A number of pro-democracy organisations called upon King Mswati not to attend the inauguration of South Africa President Jacob Zuma last Saturday (9 May 2009). The king did attend and as I wrote yesterday depending upon which news report you read the king was cheered or jeered by the crowds.

There was some reaction to my post from readers who had themselves been at Zuma’s inauguration who confirmed that the king was indeed jeered. One correspondent wrote that he had personally been one of the jeerers.

So maybe the king isn’t quite as popularly as the Swazi elite and the local media want us to believe. I am reminded of the cult of personality that surrounded Nicolae Ceauşescu, the former dictator of Romania.

Crowds would regularly turn up outside his palace to cheer every word the man had to say. Then unexpectedly, one day the cheers turned to jeers. Within a week the rebellion was over and Ceauşescu was executed by the people ... live on television.

Now, I am beginning to understand why King Mswati has just taken delivery of armoured cars for himself and his family ,,,,

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