Monday, February 14, 2011


Here's a message I placed on my Facebook sites today (14 February 2011).

The Times Sunday reported yesterday (13 February 2011) that Swazi police intelligence officers have been told by superiors to join Facebook in order to access information. The police officers were told there was ‘a lot of gossip on the site that would end up being a threat to the country’ - and that they were to monitor it on the orders of Commissioner of Police, Isaac Magugula.

Here’s a letter of welcome I have written for my new readers.

Dear Swazi Secret Police,

Welcome to Facebook. I hope you find you time online informative. On Facebook – and at other places on the Internet – you will find news and information that the media in Swaziland aren’t allowed to tell you.

You see despite what the Swazi Observer tells its readers, there is a lot of censorship of the media in Swaziland. All the radio and television are state controlled. The Observer is owned by a company controlled by the King, and although the Times is ‘independent’, it censors itself so much that it might as well be state-controlled.

That means the only place to really find out what’s going on is on the Internet.

Here, you will find that the economic crisis in Swaziland is caused by successive governments personally selected by King MswatiIII and not by some ‘global crisis’. And not really by the reduction of cash receipts from the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) either, although that hasn’t helped matters.

You will also be reminded that King Mswati III, is sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, and he controls the political system in his kingdom. People in Swaziland are not citizens: they are subjects of the king. They have to do as he tells them. Or else.

You will also find out that the King is not respected much outside of Swaziland. Only other undemocratic nations take much notice of him, and that’s only because they only really like to deal with other despots. They are very uncomfortable dealing with democracies.

You will learn that King Mswati has a personal fortune, estimated in 2009 by Forbes to be US$200 million (about E1.4 billion). You will read about people who wonder how could the king have gotten that money honestly?

While on Facebook and the Internet more generally, you will learn that there is a large movement of people – in Swaziland and abroad – who want to see change. They want to see democracy, and they want to see political parties that compete to be elected to form a government.

Many of them don’t want to see King Mswati overthrown, but they want his despotic powers stripped from him. They want to choose their own Prime Minister and Government and not have the King do it for them. They don’t mind King Mswati being a figurehead for Swazi culture, but he must give back all the money he has stolen from his people.

You have a lot of reading to do to catch up on the truth, so I won’t detain you any further.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to put a message on the wall.

Richard Rooney.

P.S. When you’ve finished reading Facebook you might like to visit Swazi Media Commentary blogsite here

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