Monday, October 28, 2013


As expected Barnabas Dlamini has been reappointed Prime Minister of Swaziland by King Mswati III.

Dlamini was not elected to the Swazi Parliament. Instead, King Mswati, who rules as an absolute monarch, appointed him to the House of Assembly, so in-turn, he could reappoint him Prime Minister.

Dlamini had been PM for the whole of the five-year Parliament that ended last month (September 2013). He had also been PM for seven and a half years until 2003.

Dlamini is a controversial figure, recognised internationally as an enemy of freedom and seen even inside Swaziland as incompetent, untrustworthy and vain.

His incompetence can been seen all over Swaziland, where seven in ten people live in the grip of abject poverty, earning less than US$2 a day. Three in ten people are so malnourished they are moving from hunger to starvation and the kingdom has the worst record for the number people with HIV in the whole world. On top of that, TB and measles are at epidemic proportions in Swaziland.

But, instead of putting forward policies to help the Swazi people, Dlamini spent much of his time in office feathering his own nest. A blatant land-scam, where he and government colleagues bought for themselves land belonging to the Swazi people, only failed to go to court because King Mswati personally ordered it should not.  
Dlamini also has personal share-holding in companies, including Swazi Empowerment (Pty) Limited (SEL), which in turn has shares in the MTN cellphone company. This means he has a personal vested interest in many business decisions his government takes.  

Dlamini is untrustworthy. The most blatant example was in April 2011 when he called a press conference and lied to the media that he had secured a ‘letter of comfort’ from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). This letter would demonstrate to world finance organisations, such as the World Bank and the African Development Bank, that Swaziland’s economy was sound and the kingdom could be trusted with loans. The news was greeted as a triumph and published all over the world. But, the letter did not exist. It was a fabrication.

Instead, one year later in April 2012 the IMF announced it was withdrawing support from Dlamini’s government and its ‘fiscal adjustment roadmap’ plan to save the economy. The IMF said, ‘Government has yet to propose a credible reform programme that could be supported by a new IMF Staff-Monitored Programme.’ 

Dlamini was also exposed as a fraud in October 2010 when he allowed his government to alter an official report for the United Nations that stated that Swaziland was behind in its efforts to meet Millennium Goals on alleviating poverty.  The doctored report was changed   so instead of saying the Swaziland Government was ‘not likely’ to meet the target of ‘eradication of extreme poverty and hunger’ it read that it could ‘potentially’ meet the target.

As well as being incompetent and untrustworthy, Dlamini is also vain. In October 2010 he accepted a ‘World Citizen Award’. Even though before the award ceremony took place the world’s media exposed the organisers as conmen and the award as fake,  Dlamini nonetheless flew first-class with an entourage from Swaziland to the Bahamas, to accept the award. Even when he was told to his face that he had been conned, he refused to acknowledge it, humiliating both himself and Swaziland on the world stage.

The Swazi people recognised Dlamini was not worthy to lead the kingdom. In October 2012 the Swazi House of Assembly passed a vote of no-confidence in him and his government. According to the constitution, King Mswati was obliged to sack him. But the king defied the constitution and Dlamini remained in office.

The House vote of no-confidence was not isolated. In August 2012 the Sibaya, a rather quaint excuse for democracy in Swaziland where ordinary people gather at a cattle byre to air their views on matters of importance to them, told Dlamini and his government to quit. The people said they were corrupt and destroying the kingdom. 

King Mswati claims Sibaya is the supreme policy-making body in the land because it demonstrates the peoples’ will. But, again, he ignored the voice of the people and stuck by Dlamini.

See also

No comments: