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Monday, 20 July 2009

Unwelcome Guest

The Post Editorial on the tyrannical rule of Mswati and the hypocrisy that has now become SADC's emblem. In a sort of weird way, it is an echo of this extraordinary attack we discussed a while back from The Herald, which accused SADC nations of double standards with respect to Zimbabwe :
"What tribute can Zambia pay to Mswati for exemplary leadership? What exemplary leadership has Mswati displayed? What social and economic developments have been taking place in Swaziland that Zambia has followed with keen interest? What traditional and democratic governance has Mswati successfully blended through wise leadership? And what elections can Mswati be praised for in Swaziland?

Whilst Rupiah has a right to invite Mswati for a visit, we wish to express our strong displeasure at the presence of the King in our country. We say this because Mswati is running a tyrannical royal dictatorship in Swaziland. And by highlighting this matter, we wish to strongly signal that it is time now for SADC to put serious pressure on Mswati for the democratisation of Swaziland.

The Tinkhundla system based on the banning of political parties and the suppression of freedom of association and political activity that Swaziland has, is one of the most oppressive systems in the contemporary period.

Whilst the Swazi King was entertained to a state banquet here and enjoyed game viewing in one of our national parks in the company of Rupiah, he has subjected the people of Swaziland to hunger and poverty whilst he and his family enjoy a lavish lifestyle.

Millions of rand are being wasted in Swaziland to finance the Mswati dynasty; which includes throwing expensive birthday parties, procurement of luxury motor vehicles and financing personal shopping sprees; whilst the majority of the people do not have access to basic services and the HIV/AIDS pandemic is ravaging the country. For far too long, SADC and the African Union (AU) have turned a blind eye to the brutalities meted out to the Swazi people by Mswati.

Why should Swaziland still belong to some 17th Century archive or political museum, as a source of tourist attractions and academic interests for European anthropologists keen on studying how 17th Century Africa looked, a classical example of backwardness and primitive social relations of the worst order, with no regard for human dignity, of women in particular?

Should it not be of interest to all of us that in our region we have a country that has evaded the powerful media screens, the academic freedom train of political scientists and all the world's watchdogs who should have been ashamed of their witting or unwitting silence and failure to uncover more than 35 years of legalised political fraud in the name of Swazi culture and tradition?

But why should a fast-evolving world of information super highways on a global scale afford to tolerate the longest state of emergency in the region, and most probably on the continent as a whole? These are the questions we should pose to our government, multilateral institutions of governance in our region and continent, as well as beyond. But even more uncomfortably, we must also pose them to ourselves. Should we be pardoned, for we did not know, or we did not see or we just chose silence, for it is golden sometimes and more convenient than the sacrifice that comes with challenging things?"
I have often criticised the Post editorials of lacking depth, especially on economic matters, but not this one. Well worth the read. I suspect the current persecution from Government may well bring the best out of The Post, as many rally to give a helping hand not just financially but intellectually as well. The Post can start to show appreciation by forever abandoning that folly of a subscription system. If recent events tell us anything is that the world is watching and "people protection" for the Post would be greater if they allowed free online access. I am sure the current temporary arrangement is not by accident, but they must keep it going. Much revenue can be made through adverts surely.

You can read the full editorial here.


  1. The Tinkhundla system based on the banning of political parties and the suppression of freedom of association and political activity that Swaziland has, is one of the most oppressive systems in the contemporary period.

    You have to wonder why the UK and US are not clammoring for sanctions and isolation of Swaziland, because of it's undemocratic ways. :-/

  2. Its because it works for them. The UK & US only go against what does not work for them. BTW, who said a multiparty democracy is the only successful means to development? China's democracy is more oppressive than Swaziland's but look at what they have done to their economy in just 30 years.

  3. Well, UK and US aside, we as Africans must develop and follow our own standards of governance by which we should judge ourselves.

    Condemnation of oppressive regimes should not just come from the US and UK, while we stand aside patting each other on the back in the name of 'brotherhood' as Mswati and RB were doing. There are despots among us and we should not be afraid to tell them so. If we wait for the US and UK to take the lead, we end up with a situation whereby they only come in when it suits them and we complain about it.

    Also we should not confuse oppression and system of government. Having a Monarchy type of government may not be democratic, but is fine if that's what the people want and it does not necessarily translate into oppression. Mswati chose to be an oppressive monarch.

  4. When given independence, we are also given a very easy means to get into debt. This debt is neccessary for development whilst it is also a yoke on us giving substantial control to the UK & US. Therefore, we can not part ways without there being disasterous consequences.


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