Thursday, December 1, 2011


A Swazi police officer has been suspended after she blurted out while in a spiritual trance that she wished for sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarchy to end, AFP news agency reported yesterday (30 November 2011).

Dumsile Khumalo, a junior police officer and pastor in the eastern town of Mliba, was at an inter-faith prayer service last Tuesday when she was heard speaking in a trance about the King Mswati III and prophesising that the Incwala ceremony, presently underway in Swaziland, would be the last one.

True to form, the Times of Swaziland, the kingdom’s only independent daily newspaper, censored its report on the incident today. It did not tell its readers that Khumalo prophesised the end of King Mswati’s dictatorial rule, nor the end of Incwala. Instead, it simply said her remarks ‘could be viewed as seditious’. It also did not name her.

AFP reported that senior religious leaders have been interviewed by police and Khumalo has been suspended from her job.

Khumalo was also ordered to appear before the traditional prime minister, Timothy Velabo (TV) Mtsetfwa, who will decide if she should be expelled from the police and exiled from her community for insulting King Mswati III, AFP reported.

The Times said that she was reported to authorities by other worshippers after she made her prophecy about the end of Incwala, the controversial ceremony considered by Swazi traditionalists to be the most important ritual in Swaziland. It is also the most secretive.

Some religious leaders have described it as ‘unGodly’and ‘unChristian’. This week a report on the Internet described details of some activities that take place at Incwala involving King Mswati and witchcraft.

The Times reported ‘sources’ saying the officer’s prayer ‘was reported to her authorities by other worshippers who did not take kindly to her request to God’.

It went on, ‘Some of those in the gathering are police officers and they did not find it proper that one of their own was speaking in this manner.

‘When police officers and other state security officers take up office, they make an oath in which they pledge to protect the country, monarchy, citizens and tradition.’

The incident has raised concerns that ‘spies’ are now attending prayer meetings to take notes on what people might be saying about the king and his regime.

The Times reported that Sydney Nyembe, Secretary of the Concerned Church Leaders, said Swazis had a right to worship in whichever way they choose.

‘It is wrong for people to come to a prayer service to take notes. The officer said she was reported to her superiors by people who were at the prayer service,’ Nyembe said.

He said there was no way the officer could be blamed for her prayer because she said the words under the influence of the Holy Spirit.

‘The lady was speaking in tongues and she cannot exactly remember the things she said. We do not deny that she did say this but people should learn to go to church to worship and not to spy,’ Nyembe said.

Nyembe added, ‘We take what she said to be a prophecy. We see nothing wrong with that. She was under the Holy Spirit when she said those things and was not reading a speech, which would have shown that she had intended to say what she said.’

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