Wednesday, April 6, 2011


Lutfo Dlamini, the Swaziland cabinet minister sent to South Africa to restore the tarnished image of the kingdom, got more than he bargained for when he met journalists.

It didn’t take him too long to learn he wasn’t in Swaziland anymore, where the media are too scared to tell the truth about King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch. A reporter from the Sowetan newspaper came right out and asked him why the king had been given a huge increase in his income while government department budgets were being slashed.

Would the austerity measures that the ordinary Swazi people had to face to try to rescue the economy also apply to the king, it wanted to know.

Dlamini blustered a bit and then ran away from the question.

The Sowetan also refused to accept Dlamini’s lies about the ‘uprising’ due for next Tuesday (12 April 2011) and his claim there were no political prisoners in Swaziland.

It reported today (6 April 2011), ‘What Dlamini failed to mention was that political activists are often detained and charged as common criminals. Some of these, like the late Sipho Jele, die in the hands of the Swazi police. Jele died on May 4 last year after being arrested at a Workers Day rally for wearing a T-shirt of the People's United Democratic Movement, a pro-democracy group banned under the 2008 Suppression of Terrorism Act.

‘Maybe Dlamini and his government should heed the warning by President Jacob Zuma, when he said recently: “Exile, torture, jail or even killing did not succeed to stop the masses of South Africa from demanding their freedom and cannot succeed anywhere else.”

The Sowetan also reported that Dlamini met with ambassadors and told them about how Swaziland was trying to get out of its economic crisis.

The newspaper reported, ‘What Dlamini failed to tell the ambassadors is that on March 18 thousands of Swaziland citizens took to the streets protesting against the freezes, cuts and redundancies in the public sector.

‘The protesters have also raised their concerns about the lavish life of King Mswati III.

‘According to Forbes magazine, with an accumulated personal wealth of about R1400million, King Mswati is said to have used state money to pay for the extravagant lifestyle of his 13 wives and children, including the upkeep of his palaces and luxury cars.

‘The yearly spending of the British-educated king is reported to be about R7million. In 2008 King Mswati spent more than R21million on a celebration to mark his birthday and 40 years of Swaziland's “independence”.

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