Thursday, December 22, 2011


The Times of Swaziland, the kingdom’s only ‘independent’ daily newspaper, is self-censoring again.

It runs a report today (22 December 2011) that a royal aide has been fined five cattle and banned from royal households for ‘handling a certain matter’ without first consulting traditional prime minister TV Mtetwa first.

The Times doesn’t name the female aide, nor does it say what she is alleged to have done.

But the newspaper says, ‘The Times Investigations Department’ (whatever that is) ‘has been reliably informed that the aide was summoned to Ludzidzini royal residence three times before the beginning of the Little Incwala’.

It says, ‘The case was eventually concluded on Friday, November 18, 2011 when the aide was told of the fine and the ban.’

So the Times leaves its readers in a fog. But some Swazis are asking, could this be the same story that the truly-independent Swazi Mirror ran about Inkhosikati laDube, the 12th wife of King Mswati III, who was last month (November 2011) chucked out of the royal palace by Mtetwa and his henchmen?

The Mirror reported that laDube sent an aide to the Ministry of Home Affairs to change her name to Nonthando Moosa.

LaDube came to international media attention (but the news was censored in Swaziland) in August 2010 when she was discovered in a sexual affair with Ndumiso Mamba, the then Justice Minister.

Meanwhile, the Times report unwittingly gives an insight into what it’s really like for women in Swaziland. They have no standing on their own and are the subjects of their male relatives.

The Times reports the female royal aide was told she had to attend at police headquarters.

The newspaper quotes her saying, ‘When I got there he told me that he had been sent by TV Mtetwa to take me to Ludzidzini. When we got there I found Mtetwa and Bheki Dlamini who told me the reason I had been summoned. They asked for my relatives and I told them my brother was Chief Mvimbi. I was told to come with him the following day.’

She said on the next day her brother told Mtetwa and Dlamini that she was now a married person and therefore her matter had to be tackled by her husband.

The aide said, ‘We were then told to come on the following day again, with my husband this time. Indeed, I came with my husband, brother and other relatives. That was when Mtetwa told us of the fine and that I was not to be seen within royal households anymore. This was done without affording any of us a chance to give our side of the story.’

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