The Swaziland Government must be cracking up. Yesterday it brought more than 30 diplomats to the Foreign Ministry and roundly abused them.
Leading the attack was cabinet minister Ntuthuko Dlamini.
He accused the diplomats, who are based in either Swaziland or Mozambique, of supporting Swazi people who wanted to bring down the government.
In what the Times of Swaziland today (7 April 2011) described as a ‘tirade’, Dlamini accused the present ambassadors, high commissioners and other diplomats of ‘taking advantage of “small” and “poor” Swaziland by capitalising on her small mistakes’.
He accused the diplomats of meeting with pro-democracy campaigners and members of organisations the Swazi government, handpicked by King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, have declared terrorist.
The Times reported him saying, ‘We say people should disassociate themselves from the banned political parties or whatever you call them. Then we find some of you, Your Excellencies, sitting and having dinner with these people. You cannot be seen to be with my enemy and still think I appreciate your presence and anything that you do. It is naturally wrong.’
Dlamini made specific reference to the mass protest on 18 March 2011 that called for the resignation of the entire government.
Dlamini went on to tell the envoys that their beliefs and way of doing things are not good for Swaziland.
Ntuthuko Dlamini, like his near namesake Lutfo Dlamini, also lies about conditions in Swaziland.
In a bizarre outburst he told the diplomats about ‘some countries where anyone caught wearing a T-shirt bearing the image of Osama Bin Laden would be taken to task. He said here in Swaziland, anyone wearing the same T-shirt would not be bothered’.
Of course, what he didn’t say – and nor did any of the Swazi media correct him – was that in Swaziland, as in the case of Sipho Jele in May 2010, you can be arrested for wearing a T-shirt with a PUDEMO slogan and end up dead three days later hanging from the ceiling in a washroom of a government correctional facility.
Ntuthuko Dlamini, who clearly needs a few lessons in diplomacy himself, then told the diplomats that Swaziland needed their support, ‘but it will not be dictated to’.
He said if the envoys and the countries they represent have money, they should give it to Swaziland.
Lutfo Dlamini then gave a presentation on Swaziland’s economic woes and begged the diplomats for financial aid to get the economy out of its mess.
‘Donor budget support would go a long way in helping the kingdom’s ailing economy,’ he told them.
He said Swaziland currently gets about four percent of its budget from donors and he hoped the donor budget support could be increased.
The Swazi Observer reported that the diplomats were given a chance to speak at the end, but only one chose to do so.
And who can blame them? If this were a football match we’d call it an own goal scored by the Swazi Government.
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