Monday, August 17, 2009


Mfomfo Nkhambule, the Swazi dissident who was forced to stop writing in the Times of Swaziland after King Mswati III threatened to close down the newspaper has returned to his attack on the king.

Writing on his blog Nkhambule criticises King Mswati, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, for being detached from his subjects and not giving them anything in return for their loyalty and what Nkhambule calls their ‘unconditional love’.

Nkhambule says, ‘It is a one way traffic. The king has made it quite clear what he wants from his subjects: It is peace and stability of the kingdom at whatever cost.

‘The most disheartening development in Swaziland is that the king stays in a palace surrounded by a brick wall 2m high, with no building higher than the wall. The king does not know how many Swazis are outside the palace. He knows the Swazis that are allowed entry to the palace. If a Swazi has never been to the palace then he is not an asset to the king because he does not exist and will never exist in the king’s list.’

He goes on, ‘Therefore the king’s interests are bound to be those of his family and to a certain extent those of his messengers. It is no surprise then that on the year of the 40/40 celebrations some of the queens boarded a chartered jet for some shopping in Asia. Now this is becoming a routine, as not long ago (about a week to be precise) another delegation of about 50 (including some of the queens) got some visas for USA. It is no surprise again that they have a fine taste of style and the king has to look after their interests because his eyes can see as far as the walls of the palace.’

He says King Mswati has told the Swaziland media he will close them down if they report on the queens’ latest trip. Certainly there have been reports on the Swaziland Solidarity Network forum about the queens’ trip but I’ve seen nothing in the official media in Swaziland.

Nkhambule gained international attention for his articles that appeared each Monday in the Times and were largely critical of Swaziland’s ruling elite, including the king. He was hauled in by Swaziland’s state police and threatened with torture if he continued to criticise the king. He was later dropped from his traditional regiment, threatened with banishment from his homeland, and his family was threatened because he refused to be silenced.

To read Nkhambule’s full blog click here.

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