Tuesday, February 16, 2010


The Swaziland government wants to rewrite history to make sure schoolchildren do not learn about groups fighting for democracy in the kingdom.

A change in the school history curriculum unveiled in November 2009 put groups such as the People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO) on the syllabus for Swaziland General Certificate of Secondary Education (SGCSE) history.

But PUDEMO, which is fighting for human rights and civil liberties in the kingdom ruled by King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, is banned in Swaziland.

Last year Barnabas Dlamini, Swaziland’s illegally-appointed Prime Minister, declared PUDEMO to be a terrorist group.

Now, the Swaziland Ministry of Education has ruled PUDEMO will be dropped from classes. Also set for the axe is the history of Liqoqo, a controversial council that helped King Mswati manipulate his way to the throne.

Months after publishing the history syllabus only now has the government realised that PUDEMO was to be taught in classes. This doesn’t say much for the government’s powers of observation since the media in Swaziland and the Internet worldwide covered the announcement in some detail at the time.

In a staggering exhibition of his own ignorance, Pat Muir, Principal Secretary at the Swaziland Ministry of Education, said it would have been impossible to teach schoolchildren about PUDEMO because there was no material that could be used by teachers and pupils for teaching about the group. (Doesn’t he read Swazi Media Commentary?)

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