Friday, February 26, 2010


We all know that Barnabas Dlamini is the illegally-appointed Prime Minister in Swaziland, but now he has set himself up as a dictator to rival King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, himself.

Dlamini has told the media in Swaziland that he is in charge of nearly everything in the kingdom – the members of parliament, the senate and the judiciary. The only one above him is the king himself and sometimes even he has to act on the recommendation of Dlamini, he said.

He was reacting to a statement from Senate President Chief Gelane Zwane who said there is a ‘separation of powers’ in the kingdom. She said parliament was not an arm of government and the cabinet, including the PM, was responsible to parliament.

Not so, says Dlamini. It’s me and me alone. Even the king has to listen to Dlamini when it comes to dissolving parliament, he said.

He said Zwane had spoken out of line.

The Times of Swaziland, the kingdom’s only independent daily newspaper, went so far as to say Zwane had been ‘put in her rightful place’ by the prime minister.

In fact, she hadn’t been. She was right and the Prime Minister is wrong.

Dlamini’s taking of power (a coup you might say) was not noticed by the Swaziland media which (as they nearly always do) simply recorded his words.

The Swaziland Coalition of Concerned Civic Organisations (SCCCO) was more alert. It said in a statement,

‘At last the Prime Minister has openly admitted that the full and proper independence of both Parliament and the Judiciary is a sham and that the control of budgets, staffing, legislative and judicial timetables are all within the power of the Prime Minister to exercise and manipulate. Yet he calls Swaziland a “fully democratic state”. ‘

It goes on, ‘In a democratic state, the will of the people is expressed in its choice of government. In Swaziland, the people’s will had no say in the choice of government. There were hundreds of thousands of votes for parliamentarians whose wishes are now being overruled by the Prime Minister who only received one vote [that of King Mswati who appointed him]. How can he call that a democratic state? He is not accountable to the people or parliament.’

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