Monday, November 21, 2011


The Times of Swaziland reported the news that King Mswati’s 12th wife Inkhosikati LaDube had been thrown out of the royal palace – but only to let Swaziland’s ‘traditional prime minister’ Timothy Velabo (TV) Mtetwa deny that it was true.

It had been expected that the Times, along with all other media in Swaziland, would censor the news because it was embarrassing to the King.

The report that LaDube had pepper-sprayed a royal guard who refused to let her leave the palace started in South Africa’s Sunday Times yesterday (20 November 2011) and quickly spread around the world.

Today, the Times, the kingdom’s only independent daily newspaper, gave Mtetwa space to deny it ever happened. The Queen, who last year was involved in a love affair with then Minister of Justice Ndumiso Mamba, had not been exiled, she was simply away visiting her grandmother, he said.

Oh, and the Times didn’t say the bit about the love affair because that’s censored information that the Swazi people aren’t allowed to know.

Mtetwa responded to the media reports of LaDube’s expulsion with ‘shock and anger’, the Times reported.

The newspaper reported Mtetwa ‘wondered where the South African media got the story which he described as untrue’. That was a strange thing for it to say because the Sunday Times made it clear it got the story from Queen LaDube herself and quoted her extensively. Mtetwa claimed to have read the South African media reports so why did he ask such a question?

And, if he genuinely didn’t know, why didn’t the Times of Swaziland tell him – and its readers for that matter.

Instead, it allowed Mtetwa, who was implicated in the original media report, to suggest that the South Africans just made the story up off the top of their heads. The Times of Swaziland didn’t interview LaDube for her side of the story.

Mtetwa, the most senior of the traditionalists in the kingdom, ruled by King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, had been accused in the original report of personally ordering LaDube to leave her palace after she pepper-sprayed the guard.

King Mswati was not present at the eviction; he is in seclusion, which may explain why Mtetwa ran to the Times of Swaziland. He wanted to get his retaliation in first, before the King heard about what he had done and dropped a ton of you-know-what on his head from a very great height.

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