Saturday, August 16, 2014


After many years of being known as the Lightning Arrester, Prime Minister of Swaziland Sibusiso Barnabas Dlamini had to forgo his street credentials by withdrawing a threatening statement he had ushered in a dirty effort to instil fear in “unionists” who had gone to Washington DC to partake at the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) deliberations.

Swaziland Prime Minister Sibusiso Dalmini
AKA Fire and Brimstone Surfer
Having realised, or most probably having been pressured, the Thunderbolt Grabber had to descend from his high horse and become a mortal, and was compelled to “unconditionally” withdraw his statement. 

None is privy to the reason why the Lightning Kamikaze had to utter such explicit lyrics without giving care to beliefs and prejudices of the audience. The most probable reason might be in relation to reports that king Mswati III and his entourage didn’t receive the most heroic of welcomes in Washington DC when the latter attended the recent US/Africa Summit. That there were protests within Restraining-Order distance, and that such protests were zooming in on prisoners of conscious that Mswati III had left languishing in jails in his Kingdom might be suspect. This might serve as lousy evidence as to the cause of the fumes that were spewing through the Prime Minister’s nostrils when he, in no uncertain terms, ordered Members of Parliament to khama (strangulate) the “unionists”. This is pure speculation, but what can we do but speculate in a country where almost all information is on a need-to-know bases, and if the need to know arises, it is further denied through the if-culture-permits security measure.

None can also conclusively say why America had to issue a no-nonsense statement on the etiquette of Dances-In-An-Electric-Storm. Considering that Mswati III and his government has recently called America’s bluff in the poker game of AGOA and its conditions, is maybe the reason that America has just about had it with the diplomacy of beating about the bush. As much as Mswati III and his government might view this as another poker game at the expense of the Swazi people, to the people affected, it is nothing less than the dangerous game of Russian roulette, and America is beginning to realise this. 

What is not speculation though is that the Prime Minister of Swaziland is planets apart from his nickname’s sake. What he has been able to do in office as the Boss Minister was to put in place policies that in the short term work some magic for the dictatorship, but in the long term spell nothing but disaster for the Monarchy. Such can hardly be viewed as arresting lighting but an effort in short-circuiting governance in a way that the national government grid has become a bevy of explosive sparks and instead of arresting the voltage, he is perilously searching in his hand bag of bully tricks. 

There is another lightning bolt, in the form of Chief Justice Michael Ramodibedi, that is running loose in dire need of an arrester but Sbu Kamikaze is caught in between misleading parliamentarians and throttling unionists. Appreciating recent lightning bolts that threatened to smite Swaziland into a failed State might showcase the achievements of the Swaziland Prime Minister.

In 2011 when Swaziland was in a financial crisis, had he been a lightning arrester, he would have at least tried to formulate sustainable measures that would get Swaziland out of its fiscal slumber and keep it there. Instead of taking some counsel from the International Monetary Fund, he cheered with the rest of the royal applauding-squad when Mswati III took the begging bowl to South Africa.  Suffice to say that South Africa had conditions attached to the loan which were a little bit more that the interest that would be charged. Viewed in perspective, the conditions of the South African loan, in context, are almost verbatim to those attached to AGOA by the United States of America. 

It is also good to note that the Thunderbolt Manipulator was there in the thick of issues when, after a windfall of the SACU receipts, the then Minister of Finance Majozi Sithole caused  a celebration pandemonium when he declared nirvana and much decent bubbly was popped and finger delicacies were nibbled in celebration of Swaziland being "out of the financial crisis". You needn't have been a certified numbers cruncher to appreciate that the prudent thing to do was to bring umcombotsi (traditional brew) and ask the ancestors to intervene instead of degrading the French bubbly gods by sipping their crystal in a celebration of a postponed financial crisis.

Had the Prime Minister been the hurricane surfer that he is known to be, he would have at least tried to council Mswati III on the wisdom of meeting some of the conditions of the American preferential trade agreement. Such would have feigned willingness while he went shopping for the latest magic carpet. That America has effortlessly snapped the carpet right from under his feet and extinguished the fire from his nostrils with a single statement is to show the lack of foresight on the part of the Brimstone Snapper. But again, it is said that domineering breeds mediocrity.

The Textile Lightning  
There is a standard number of 17000 that has been thrown around in relation to the loss of jobs with the loss of the preferential trade agreement with the United States.  But regardless of the number, the reality is that many people will lose their livelihood. Even if the employment of the textiles workers is highly exploitative, the humbling truth is that their employment helps in keeping the vultures at bay.

Would it have made the Prime Minister less of a storm chaser, if he would at least amended the Industrial relations act and drafted a few pointers to guide the etiquette of the boys in blue and green? Would it be worth the humiliation of withdrawing one’s words to absolve union leaders of the liability of damages incurred during a strike action? Maybe America would have understood had he told them that he was still “mulling over” the flagship piece of legislation which is Suppression of Terrorism Act, but he should have at least presented an amended Industrial Relations Act as a show of some commitment. But he and Mswati III decided that they would keep singing the perpetual “soon come” to the Americans. The landlord is surely to view you negatively if you can’t give even a fraction of the rent. But it seems like such is not the logic in the higher echelons of Swazi governance.

This is not to lambast the Prime Minister as a complete failure, but to put caution into the overestimation of our leaders’ capabilities. I am sure the Current Terminator has his strengths, but fairness and accounting to
the ordinary people is not one of them. Judging from the almost non-existent Foreign Direct Investment, Swaziland’s overreliance on the SACU receipts, high unemployment rate, clampdown on basic freedoms and almost three quarters of a population who live in poverty, exposes a man who doesn’t care about the prosperity of the majority of the Swazi people.

America has stated clearly that its preferential trade has conditions and it is upon King Mswati III and the Prime Minister to ensure that such conditions are met, as powers to meet these conditions are exclusively vested in them or rather that Mswati III, in consultation or not in consultation with the ghost advisory squad, instructs the Prime Minister on pertinent issues of governance, especially where it has to do with giving dissent some space to manoeuvre. It would be an insult to even insinuate that Members of Parliament have a say in this issue because history warns us that whatever powers they are purported to have, boil down to rubberstamping the king’s wishes.

The legacy of kukhama (To strangulate)
The Brimstone Bender might fool some on the “unconditional withdrawal” of his careless statement, but as Swazis who have been on the receiving end of the repression we know that the statement was not just empty threats of a politician who blundered.

Strangulation has been part of the Tinkhundla regime as much as the teargas and the baton have been. "Tubing", which is the technique used to strangulate, has been used to instill fear in criminals and political activists for many years. Both Vincent Ncongwane and Sipho Gumedze, who were being threatened with strangulation, are well aware of the horrors of being “tubed”.

Having personally undergone this torture procedure at the hands of the Swazi police, I can sum it up that it is one of the most painful abuses I have had to undergo in my entire life. After having been “tubed”, I was coughing blood and clots for almost a week.

It was with horrifying recollection that I had to watch someone cough blood during my recent incarceration. The said inmate who was accused of stealing car mirrors, was taken by detectives from the holding cells under the cover of darkness, and when he came back he was coughing blood and relayed some of the abuses he had gone through. A customs official who had been arrested on alleged fraud also relayed on how he had been beaten and “tubed” by the Swazi detectives. A young man, who was arrested for disappearing with his friend’s slipslops and E100 (10 dollars), was also taken by the detectives and when he came back he relayed how he had been beaten. A guy who had allegedly stolen copper cables was brought in after having been severely beaten and was later taken by detectives and he came back relaying how he had been further bitterly beaten. All this torture activity happened in the few days, which were less than a week, the duration which the seven of us were being held at the Mbabane holding cells before being transferred to Sidvwashini prison.

It is through such bitter experience that we refuse to even feign conviction that Sibusiso Barnabas Dlamini has somehow found Jesus Christ and has developed some on and off spurts of kindness. This individual has sat as the Chief Overseer to much torture that has been meted on the Swazi people, and when he said that the “unionists” must be strangulated, he meant it because strangulation continues to be a tool that is used to acquire evidence from alleged criminals and quash dissent from human rights proponents and political activists.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Swazi Chief Justice Michael Ramodibedi


Recently, the judicial offshoot of the political problem has received quite some reasonable attention due to the peculiar manner in which the judiciary handled the contempt of court case preferred against Thulani Maseko and Bheki Makhubu and that was followed by the arrest of people for wearing t-shirts. As much as the authorities would have liked the t-shirt story to be paraded as Terrorism, the fact that there were people arrested for the mere act of wearing t-shirts was not lost to both the local and the international community. Suddenly people wanted to know if there was no other offence besides the wearing of the t-shirts that was committed which could justify the arrest of seven people.

When Justice Mumcy Dlamini broke with protocol and released Human Rights Lawyer Thulani Maseko and Nation magazine editor Bheki Makhubu, a lot of eyebrows were raised due to the fact that what was expected was that she would do the opposite. The norm is that if anyone criticises or defies authority in Swaziland, that surely such a person will be taught a lesson or part with a number of cows to appease the king. Such was the case with the people of Macetjeni and KaMkhweli who up to the present moment remain a displaced people because they dared to defy authority when they questioned the right of king Mswati III to impose a chief on them. It is the same norm that got Judge Thomas Masuku fired because he dared criticise the king. The fate of this well respected judge was sealed by Chief Justice Ramodibedi whose reputation has been tarnished by a multitude of issues, from the allegations of sexual harassment in Swaziland, and a hasty resignation in his home country where he is facing a number of issues that range from an impending impeachment and insurance fraud allegations.

In keeping with the norm, Chief Justice Michael Ramodibedi brought eyebrows back at ease when he quickly issued a warrant of the re-arrest Of Maseko and Makhubu. Regardless that the chief justice holds his position unconstitutionally, he is not keen on keeping a low profile. Considering that back in his country he allegedly behaved in a manner of the priest who dipped his fingers in the tithing envelope, the expectation would be that he should lie low while drawing the Swazi salary, but such is not the style of the Lesotho national.

We now sit with an appointing authority whose tribute coffers come in a form of a cattle kraal and a chief Judge who is too willing to furnish his kraal with a number of beasts. We ask of the fate of justice when the same cattle herding Chief Justice fired another judge who he accused of disrespecting the very appointing authority who he pays homage to. We ask why it shouldn’t be considered a bribe that the chief justice can present cows to the same person who appoints Swazi chief judges and has appointed him in a blatant disregard for the very flawed constitution that a number of professional legal bodies have advised that its separation of powers aspect must be thoroughly revised. Separation of powers being the very bedrock that a constitution is supposed to be founded on is almost non-existent in the Swazi constitution.

No One Is Immune
It was when I had two weeks sitting in confinement that I really got to appreciate the number of people that get indirectly affected through the relentless campaign by the Tinkhundla Regime to silence any dissenting voice that seeks to expose that all is not well in Swaziland. By appreciating the number of people that were affected through my incarceration was how I got to be conscious of the reach of Tinkhundla regime’s bullying and how such has created a nation who would rather be quite than talk and be subjected to all manner of abuse.

There is a mocking bird that was killed as early as 1990 when PUDEMO President Mario Masuku and a number of political activists were paraded in the courts for treason. Because king Sobhuza II had done the ground work of stigmatising political parties, people thought it was the egg stealing mongoose that was getting massacred. It can also be said that that mocking bird was killed when Prince Mfanasibili and his alleged co-conspirators were put behind bars for assuming starring roles during the dethronement of the Queen Dzeliwe saga. Maybe it can be said that the justice mocking bird was killed when Dr Ambrose Zwane and Prince Dumisa Dlamini of the NLLC had to be continually incarcerated when they expressed opinions contrary to those of the ruling elite.

In the person of Nation magazine editor who carries no political tag, the people have seen that anybody can get arrested and be paraded in the courts in leg irons for the act of expressing opinion. It has now dawned that such harsh treatment is not an exclusive preserve for political activists. As much as the mocking bird of justice was killed many decades ago, in the eyes of a good number Swazi people the guilty verdict and the stiff sentence meted on Maseko and Makhubu signals the death of justice in Swaziland. For this mass awakening we only have chief Justice Michael Ramodibedi to thank.

The reality is that when the authorities abuse others the collective will suffer in one way or the other even if the people choose to acknowledge such or not. The main tool of Tinkhundla regime has been to divide and rule where the slaves are awarded varying importance. We ask if such was not the same modus operandi of the South African Apartheid regime where the black community was placed at the bottom of the racial chain and Indian and coloured where placed above them so slave could monitor slave while the elite race gorged itself on the resources that the earth provided.

Unity Is Strength
My name is Brian Ntshangase and I care not to memorise my prison number even though wisdom counsels me that I might need it in the near future. It is my counsel that now is the time that we should all work against the varying importance degrees that the regime awards us. That the comfortable positions we occupy today might be the perpetrators of our crucifixion tomorrow.  Such is none other than a tool to keep us divided and maintain us in perpetual enslavement. That the Mamba clan might be a little more important than the Tsabedze clan is nothing but maintaining a rank structure that has one serving the other and confusion on how important is one clan over the other. That people should spend time trying to establish their importance by trying to establish how well they are related to the royal family is nothing but foolishness.

Such serves to relegate the question to less relevant issues instead of asking why Mswati III’s salary is many times that of Barack Obama when almost three quarters of the Swazi Nation lives in poverty, or maybe to ask why over seventy members of the royal family get stipends for doing absolutely nothing while the elderly are given less than 25 dollars a month to survive on.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014



Scandalising the courts, otherwise legally known as Contempt of Court was the buzz phrase that not so long ago had Nation Magazine editor, Bheki Makhubu, being thrown hither and thither as the Swazi Judicial Cabal once more turned Swaziland into a kangaroo court in session. It was a case that once again took another jibe at the integrity of the Swazi Judiciary, and piled more doubt to the quality of the justice that Swaziland offers.

Not so long ago Chief Justice Michael Ramodibedi, Justice Bheki Maphalala, and Mumcy Dlamini, issued a joint public statement threatening all manner of reprisal to those that dared to, “scandalise the courts”. Judging from the freeing or rather the, “setting aside”, of Bheki Makhubu and Thulani Maseko's shame of a case, it might seem like the arm of the Swazi Judicial Cabal has been twisted a tit bit too painfully, otherwise it wouldn’t voluntarily sacrifice its bully street cred.


It would be wise for analysts, observers, political activists, and even the victims themselves, to put caution on hastily garlanding Judge Mumcy Dlamini because she apparently, finally, out of the blue, “found justice” and applied it “fairly”. If there is anything further from the truth it is this readily available line of reasoning.

 There is no way that Judge Mumcy Dlamini will “find Jesus” and start shouting, “let Mphandlana Shongwe enjoy justice”. Such is normally a gradual occurrence and it follows the logic of “growing”, and not the miracle that is presently purported.

What happened at the Swazi courts during the victimisation of Bheki Makhubu and Thulani Maseko was an historical event which is a good sign of a coming of age of a people.

The filling of the courts by Swazi and foreign people, the condemnation from a good number of well respected, local, regional and international organisations, and the constant toyi toying would be a bit much for even the most resolute stooges of Tinkhundla system. So basically, something had to give, and fortunately in this instance it was Judge Mumcy Dlamini's nerve. That more nerves will pop this year and beyond is a reality contained within the resolve and the coming of age that Swazi people have shown and left no one in doubt that those that have taken the liberty to treat Swaziland as their personal farm are in for a surprise.

That the action of Justice Mumcy Dlamini of going against cabal protocol, will get her into the proscribed kind of trouble is almost a fact. So instead of rushing to buy thank-you cards for the “brave” judge, rather we prepare to stand by her side in defence of her action of releasing Bheki Makhubu and Thulani Maseko and not to indiscriminately declare her the champion of justice when in the near future she would be slapping all manner of dodgy sentences on democracy activists, that is, if she is not fired.

A cabal in conflict with itself is not necessarily a cabal in agreement with the people. The Lesotho national was bound to entangle the long rope he was given, and sooner or later his immediate subjects were bound to feel the heat and a couple of nerves would pop. This is normally the logic around the exploits of corrupt cliques. It might not be surprising that the hand that pays the paper might be rather perplexed on which song to order the piper to play next because it seems like the medley that the Chief Justice is belting out is a personal compilation and there is no agreed upon playlist; even though there is that overarching agreement that the piper must play.


There isn't anything that should be keeping the Chief Justice in Swaziland, now that he has lost his appeal in Lesotho. It would prudent for those that pay the gentlemen to release him because it is clear that, in what appears as the height of irony, he is is trying to dodge Justice in his native country; and releasing him from his engagements in Swaziland would help him to adequately focus on the whirlwind he has been creating in Lesotho. He must go home and face his impeachment.

The absence of the judge in Swaziland would help Swazi people to focus on more constructive issues than attending to his tantrums. For a while he has been a frustrating waste of time. Instead of the people of Swaziland focusing on real issues of condemning Mswati III's repressive regime. and planning on how to sustainably launch Swaziland into the future, now and again the country has to focus on this attention seeking grown delinquent whose ego is gangrened with selfishness, and a blatant attempt to keep Swazi people as repressed as possible. Judging from the trouble following him, it is clear that he is a serial home wrecker. The gentleman has obviously overstayed his welcome and it is time that he heads back home.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014


CULT OF PERSONALITY!! Deputy Prime minister finds
nothing wrong with approaching Mswati III on his fours.
There are some, especially beneficiaries of the Tinkhundla system, that the word dictator still hold some bitter taste when labelled at Mswati III, Africa’s last absolute monarch. Some prefer to acknowledge that his rule would do with more adherence to Human Rights, and the odd tweaking of the law here and there, but feel it is a sensationalist exaggeration to unreservedly say that Mswati III is a dictator. They would rather prefer to view Tinkhundla system as, “not undemocratic”, rather than to view its head as an autocrat.

Due to a mixture of Monarchist nostalgia, and the odd misplaced “expert opinion”, it becomes quite hard for some Swazi people to come out the closet and say, “we have a dictator in our midst”. Much blame is heaped upon an advisory council considered uneducated and unsophisticated. If there are still traits of a dictatorship thereafter, that  residue is quickly packaged either culturally or diplomatically and neatly placed at the door of the government.

The victims of Tinkhundla system on the other hand use the word dictator unreservedly clearly showing a feeling of lacking a stronger word. But there are also cases where even democracy proponents find the word dictator quite “disrespectful”, because there is also that naiveté of defining respect outside of the ideal, where all manner of individuals are undeservedly given "respect" regardless of their conduct in society,.

Dictatorships are often characterised by some of the following traits: suspension of elections and of civil liberties; proclamation of a state of emergency; rule by decree; repression of political opponents without abiding by rule of law procedures; these include single-party state, and cult of personality.

The curtailing of civil liberties is almost a daily occurrence in Swaziland. It can be repressed from a group of slogan chanting political activists, right up to a group of women protesting the beating of another woman by a man. Any kind of dissent that has to do with people coming together to package their grievance is discouraged with the use of force and violence.

Moving onto the issue of the suspension of elections and observing that the dictatorship in Swaziland has tried to act clever in trying to avoid to be labelled with this characteristic by conducting election that are meaningless. A good number of international bodies have condemned the elections as a pointless exercise as the prerequisite of allowing unhindered participation is non-existent as political parties are banned in Swaziland.  The pointlessness of the election hasn't gone unnoticed by the people as in the previous elections, less than 50% of eligible voters actually voted, and even those that voted snubbed Mswati III favourites to the point that he had to appoint some of them in order to get them back into the dictatorial system. It is pretty clear that the suspension of elections  characteristic of a dictator fits Mswati III like hand to glove.

When Sobhuza II as the head of Imbokodvo National Movement banned political parties in 1973, he then declared a state of emergency which is still in operation up to present day, making it the longest running state of emergency in the world.

In 2005, Mswati III through pressure from political activists and the international community, introduced a constitution authored in his palace which paradoxically took away his rights to rule by decree and set him above the constitution. It was pretty obvious from the beginning that removing the ruling by decree was just to appease the international community, with the constitution itself being a bevy of contradictions. Since 2005, it has been disobeyed a number of times by high king-appointed government officials and Mswati III himself. The reality on the ground is that Mswati III still rules by decree because it is either he rules through the constitution or by decree. Clearly he has proved that he is not ruling by the dictates of the constitution.

The characteristic of repressing political opponents has been Mswati III’s main focus since he ascended the throne in 1986. Starting from the treason trial of political activists and unionists in the early 90s to the incident as resent as the case of the Human Right Lawyer Thulani Maseko who is presently remanded in custody to next week Tuesday for writing an article, which the Swazi justice system has labelled as, “contempt of court”. 

The justice system of Swaziland is run by Chief Justice Michael Ramodibedi, a gentleman roped in by Mswati III, who calls himself makhulu baas (a title meaning Big Boss which was very popular in apartheid South Africa), who at present is in trouble with the law in his home country Lesotho. Alongside Thulani Maseko in custody is Bheki Makhubu, editor of The Nation Magazine, who not so long ago was slapped with an impoverishing R200 000.00 fine for contempt of court by “scandalizing the court”, through an article in the same Nation Magazine that has landed Maseko in his Majesty’s Correctional System.

When Imbokodvo National Movement, which was a party headed by Swaziland’s previous dictator named Sobhuza II, could not tolerate a mere three elected members of parliament from the opposition, it, under the leadership of Sobhuza II banned political parties and installed Sobhuza II as absolute ruler. So from then, either Imbokodvo has operated incognito as the only party, or the royal Dlamini clan has operated as the only political body “contesting” for state power. So it can be said either Swaziland has been ruled by one political party since 1973, or it has been ruled by one political family. But regardless if the label is family or party, the fact of the matter is that state power is not contested in Swaziland. So this characteristic too sticks like glue to Mswati III.

Many a journalist has entered Swaziland and left with quite the heart-warming story of a people who, “love the king”. Were the journalists to probe further they would actually find quite an interesting story of a cult of personality so interwoven in myth and witchcraft that it would make for quite the compelling story. But it is also reasonable to observe that a foreign journalist never has it easy in Swaziland with the regular sight of the bare breasted maiden, it becomes quite hard to focus the mind on the story. Cult of personality is the fabric upon which the Swazi Monarch designs his dictatorship. The disability of Mswati III is the lack of the ability to spit analogy after analogy which is the Swazi royals' recipe for manufacturing the cult of personality. His lack in articulation does not necessarily mean he hasn't enjoyed the protection of the cult of personality because his father Sobhuza II left quite a rich mist of deception on the people's minds to start him off.

Mswati III is what could be termed as a textbook Dictator. He ticks all the characteristics of a Dictator. So it can be said without fear of contradiction that Mswati III is a Dictator.........through and through.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014


As if to further drag democracy on a parade of shame, the Swaziland Royal judiciary finally admitted that what took Swazi political activists a few minutes to figure out through basic reasoning, has taken the Swazi judiciary well over three years to conclude. 
Some of Swazi political prisoners
The line of reason of the reasonable at the time was that for Bheki Dlamini, the President of the Youth wing of the biggest Political Party in Swaziland, to have been able to be at the scene of the crimes, he would have needed to be in possession of a helicopter or a faster mode of transport because on the said days he had reported to his work at 8 in the morning.
But justice is never the pursuit when political activists are thrown into the injustice system of Swaziland. Mary da Silva, Bheki Dlamini’s lawyer, once remarked that the Swazi judiciary treats political activists worse than hardened criminals.
By acquitting Bheki Dlamini of all the charges and finding Zonke Dlamini, the co-accused, guilty, will always be viewed in the only reasonable sense that Zonke was to stay behind so that the judiciary could grasp onto some form of legitimacy, as if there was a case to prosecute from the beginning.
If the Injustice System of Swaziland could knowingly keep an innocent man behind bars for well over three years, it comes without question that it wouldn’t think twice on keeping another man locked up for more years in order to lay claim to the existence of guilt for an obvious case of conspiring and framing of political activists just because the monarch and his cabal does not tolerate dissenting views.
Such can be proven on a number of cases whereby political activists walk around with bail conditions that ensure that dare they say a word in disagreement to the Monarch and the Tinkhundla regime, they would be dragged back into the abyss of confinement and torture in the shortest time possible. One such victim is a young Maxwell Dlamini, who on top of having been on the receiving end of a near impossible to pay bail amount, has been denied a scholarship to further his education and has had to be a regular visitor at a given police station in order to meet the bail conditions which are used as a tool to maintain some form of semi-incarceration of political activists. The idea is to maintain a sustained fear of hell among the political activists, through the almost official torture practice, the frequent arbitrary arrests, and the murders that are committed with impunity by Mswati III’s security forces.
 It is also logical that the system has to provide evidence for the propaganda that it punts to the Swazi people, that PUDEMO and its auxiliaries is hard at work trying to turn the country into a warzone, even though the war has not been forthcoming. So when a good number of Swazis start turning the attention to the real problem which is the poverty that is caused by the plundering of state resources by the royal family and the elite, the Nation is given another victim from the PUDEMO camp to parade around the royal judicial spaces, and for a while it seems like political parties are the problem when it is actually the greed of the royal family and the unworkable Tinkhundla political system that is the root cause of a country in the constant verge of economic collapse.  If it wasn’t for the annual SACU receipts which are guaranteed through a development component which comes out of the pocket of poor South Africans, Swaziland would have long approached South Africa so it could be annexed as a province of the latter.
The curious matter is that Zonke Dlamini who has been found guilty under the Suppression of Terrorism Act which very recently America said the Act needs to be totally annulled if Swaziland wants to hold on to the duty free AGOA arrangement that insures the salary – even though at mostly a slavery rate - of about 30 000 Swazis. It must be a genuine concern that America with its own questionable policy on terrorism, should question the justness of the Swazi Law. The question then remains that if this draconian law is repealed, will the scales of injustice still hold in Chief Justice Michael Mathealira Ramodibedi’s fiefdom?  
Again Mswati III and his judicial circus has put a not-so-stand-up show in ridiculing the very core of democratic values by making a mockery of judicial processes. There continues to be an undeniable rope as thick as a ship anchor’s chain, all the way from the palace, that yanks the gavel and wobbles the defence. Cheatham House says, “it is not undemocratic”, Buckingham Palace invites it to royal functions, it spends its blood money in Vegas, and when it is called to account it sees visions of Monarchical Democracies in the middle of electric storms and cries, “sovereignty!” Many say it is ignorant and dub it, “A Swazi problem”, but the reality is that it mocks every man woman and child who has ever stood to defend democracy.
The Swazi regime is adamant on continuing with criminalising abortion while statistics point to alarming backroom, or rather filthy toilet abortions by young girls and the mortalities thereof, while the system itself aborts its children in prison cells and torture dungeons. It has employed a Sotho national to conduct the Symphony of Judicial Misery where honourable productive citizens like Bheki Dlamini and Zonke Dlamini are criminalised for seeking justice and security forces are rewarded handsomely for replenishing the abattoir of the abettors.  The only upside to this is that Zonke Dlamini and the other political prisoners will not be alone for much longer, but will be joined by more PUDEMO and SWAYOCO members in prison.
As time passes it becomes clear that Mswati III and his tinkhundla regime will not be able to sustain the repression for too much longer. There are clear signs, like the undeniable that the system has outlived its limited vision and there need to be a system that can usher Swazi people into a humane future; the question is no more “if”, but’ “when”. If the SACU receipts can fall just once, it would be back to the begging bowl for Swaziland, and who knows the patience of South Africa when Swaziland has publicly declared itself as having taught South Africa the values of democracy, and its entire attitude towards the latter being that of arrogance and the show of empty pride.

Sunday, February 9, 2014


An issue that seem to elude Swazis, especially Swazi democracy activists is that what ZANU PF is pursuing at present might be an antithesis of what Swazi “progressives” are supposedly pursuing; or rather, that ZANU PF’s rhetoric is in disagreement with the obtaining reality in Zimbabwe.
President Robert Mugabe
Maybe to question the wisdom in cheering President Robert Mugabe, and that if it is not cheering for one’s very jeer.

Not to single out President Robert Mugabe, but to adopt the premise that all he articulates in office is ZANU PF’s pursuit and therefore its policy or maybe it’s intended policy.
To mention that Robert Mugabe is not the first African leader and surely not the last to stand up to Western Imperialists.  That there have been more daring stances by African leaders, like the move by Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser in 1956 - whose administration nationalised the British and French owned Suez Canal - in retaliation to the United States’ bullying tendencies.
 It beats reason why Robert Mugabe should receive such specialised applause when such should be the expected resolve from African leaders and not the exception. It is more or less the case of applauding the father’s child for paying child-maintenance.
To say Zimbabwe is democratic just because it is democratic on paper would be like saying Swaziland is constitutional just because it has a constitution.
Maybe trying to count the cost of “The fight against the imperialist” by ZANU PF would reveal who has been the biggest loser in ‘the war against the West”. And that ZANU won the previous elections because of its years of influence, and because of MDC’s tendencies of overly bedding “the enemy” might be more the reality than the insinuation that it is loved by the people; it is more the case of the lesser evil, and that there is a fear among Zimbabweans that if ZANU PF might lose any elections, harsh might be the retaliation from the “people’s party”, as ZANU has previously let loose the violent tendencies of its rogue youth on the populace.
That ZANU PF won the previous elections is something that the West should accustom itself to because it is actually the mostly likely outcome in appreciation of the complacency that the MDC fell into after the Government of National Unity and its disillusionment within its own ranks.
The exodus of Zimbabweans into South Africa caused by the destabilisation of Zimbabwe by the proxy war-on-Britain, (otherwise known as the Land Reform Programme) is staggering. Such reality can be appreciated if one were to see the length of the line of Zimbabweans queuing on Pritchard Street in Johannesburg trying to partake of the overwhelmingly inadequate charity that the Methodist Church has offered to the mostly displaced Zimbabwean people, while the South African government has mostly watched in disinterest. Or maybe to visit Diepsloot that has absorbed Zimbabweans to such saturation that the conditions have regressed to a point where there are sporadic Shona/Ndebele feuds.
Appreciating the sheer number of Zimbabweans in South Africa and how establishments like Steers, Checkers, Debonairs, BP filling station and many other retailers, have come to generously employ the affordable, hassle-free Zimbabwean labour, maybe it wouldn’t be an untruth to insinuate that the-war-on-the-Britain (otherwise known as Counter Colonial Therapy) should shoulder the bigger blame for the Xenophobic attacks that began in Alexander township, and continue to be a constant  bubbling-under time-bomb that threatens to go off every time any establishment retrenches employees in South Africa.

The propaganda is that Zimbabweans now own land and the food production is growing by leaps and bounds, year on year. Maybe so, but the reality is that there is a reluctance of the expatriates to repatriate and logic has it that where one is reluctant to return, the conditions are not conducive for progressive habitation.
The question still remains that, if the war was on the Britain (otherwise known as Show Them The Appropriate Finger) or the fight against the residue of the West that missed the wagon “home”, why is it that that it is mostly black Zimbabweans that have absorbed the greater part of the onslaught? Has anyone ever bothered to compare the number of affected black Zimbabweans in relation to white Zimbabweans because I am sure that main stream media hasn’t?
I guess the biggest question would be to ask if ZANU PF is pursuing a better life for Zimbabweans or if it is on some vengeance mission to show the West if it is “my Zimbabwe” or “your Britain” that has more natural minerals under the ground. Because many are the “African Heroes” within ZANU PF and much is the shoulder-patting for a job well done on unequivocally informing the imperialist on exactly where to shove it, and such ego trips are the prime suspect on the main reason for the sometimes counter-productive policies at the expense of the welfare of the people. 
It then becomes an issue of intrigue as to where Swazis - especially Swazi democracy activists - find space to unashamedly sing praises of Robert Mugabe in a narrative splattered all over the abuse of human rights. Is it not human rights abuses that are perpetrated in Swaziland that Swazi democracy activists should applaud such in Zimbabwe just because the human rights abuser has shown the middle finger to the Imperialist? That because my enemy is your enemy, then we should be friends even though you perpetrate that which I fight against? …because there are well over two million walking talking and suffering reasons in South Africa why that which is happening in Zimbabwe is abuse on fellow humans, on ZANU PF’s watch.
 Not to insinuate that ZANU PF or Robert Mugabe is devoid of virtue, but to question the wisdom to applaud one human being or a grouping of human beings when millions have been uprooted with an uncertain future, in a foreign land, while their leaders back home claim it is them they fight for. If political activist are cheering the few, then who is mourning the millions that have suffered for years and continue to suffer? It comes across as a counterintuitive case of verbal ill of politicians and political activists because common sense would have it that if the Land Reform Project was to have collateral, it would have been white Zimbabweans, but the reality is that those that have suffered the most have been black Zimbabweans, and thereafter it was a standing ovation for the perpetrators of the suffering.
It may seem like we applaud those with the prerequisite rhetoric without really taking stock of the impact they have made to human development.
The Human Development Index (HDI) measures the quality of life-experience people in a given country experience overall in areas such as how long people live, access to education; and how much money individuals make in a year. Even though it is not a watertight method but it gives a more or less reasonably reliable pointer on a given country’s direction of development.
The much sold level of education even though having grown steadily since 1980 (the Human Development Index (HDI) in income was worse off in 2012 than it was in 1980) shows that the education has not resulted in a better standard of living and more money in the pocket of the average Zimbabwean. And that ZANU PF might not have earned the hero status after-all, because even life expectancy of the average Zimbabwean was lower in 2012 than it was in 1980.
The curious thing is that even the education that is lauded as one of the best in Africa is what could be considered as average globally, because when compared with the HDI in education of countries like Finland, then Zimbabwe’s education is left wanting and when further compared in income (GDP per capita) and health, it fades into insignificance.
The question is what has ZANU PF done that political activists should whistle in hearty cheer when President Mugabe stands up? Are we now going to be a continent that cheer the most for those who throw the best insults at Western Imperialists? Are we to be a continent that award and honour those that pursue vengeful policies instead of Human Development policies?
That ZANU PF has been shamefully quiet on the dictatorship obtaining in Swaziland is a reality we ponder on when we try to reason the role of ruling former liberation movements in Africa. And that ZANU PF is a cause for the suffering of a lot of Zimbabweans should shame any Swazi political activist who even ponders on the act of cheering that shame that is taking place in Zimbabwe, because there is a similar shame taking place in Swaziland.
That  the then ZANU is yet to give humane reasons why the death of twenty thousand in Matabeleland was the better option because it would be curious to know if the leaders at ZANU had so run out of ideas at the time, and that wholesale murder of civilians was really the last option.
 It may seem like we are cheering our very demise, but didn’t we cheer to the point of hoarse voices when a boy of eighteen years was crowned to be a leader of one of the most developmentally challenged countries in the world. It may seem that we never learn.


Wednesday, December 25, 2013


What has, over the years, somehow eluded public scrutiny is the difference between the Institution of the Monarchy and the Monarch. To adequately understand the difference between the two would maybe help people like the “representative” of the ANC who was in Swaziland and apparently was talking on behalf of the ANC. Articulation of the said gentleman as reported by the times of Swaziland exposes his ignorance on the Swazi matter and ignorance on the stand that the ANC has taken in regard to the Swazi issue.

Wise royals who chose to exit the political space to preserve
dignity of the Institution of the Monarchy 
Had the gentleman appreciated that the ANC does not regard Swaziland as democratic, he wouldn’t have uttered the words that, “You have elected your choice of MPs and some are ministers. If there are any problems one feels need to be addressed, these are the people who need to be confronted not the royal family. People should just learn to leave the King alone.”

If the ANC, in one of its resolutions, is calling for the democratisation of Swaziland, then it means that it does not recognise the government which part of is elected through sham elections and most of, through appointment by Mswati III. For Johannes Sibiya - who according to the times of Swaziland was representing the ANC - to refer the people of Swaziland to a government that is undemocratic as a solution, is clearly in contradiction of the ideals of the organisation he claims to represent. If Mr Johannes Sibiya would like to comment on the Swazi issue, he is very welcome, but should appreciate the facts of the matter, and familiarise himself with the Swazi narrative because he might end up embarrassing his political party by contradicting its views on the its official stand on Swaziland.

But to bring clarity on the issue of discussing issues of the monarch in public and how it has come about that the Monarch and even the Institution of the monarchy has become content for public discourse and at times even inexcusable vulgar public discourse.

Sobhuza II against counsel to the contrary, submerged both the Monarch and the Institution of the Monarchy into active politics. It is a given that politics are an undertaking of mudslinging and name-calling. In showing his back to culture of the Monarch taking counsel from the people, Sobhuza II decided to rather take the advice of an individual who was part and parcel of the South African Apartheid State, hence we find the Monarch of Swaziland and the people of Swaziland in the public domain exchanging insults, mudslinging, and name-calling, where Mswati III has gone as far as uttering threats of “choking” some Swazis, and his police officers have taken his advice and standardised the use of “the tube” in interrogation, especially interrogations of political activists.

One of the major requests of pro-democratic forces has been to ask the royal family as a whole to remove the Monarch and the Institution of the Monarchy from active politics. That it was a big mistake that Sobhuza II should have exposed the Monarch and the Institution of the Monarchy to the ridicule of public politics, because, either we like it or not, politics do get  slimy, slippery and at times vulgar. What is considered as heritage and dear to the people should be removed from the political space because it might end up losing value and become a thing of international ridicule as the Swazi Monarch has become.

Judging from Sobhuza II’s undertakings from the early 1920’s it becomes clear that when he finally decided to offer the head of the Monarch to the gallows of politics when he insisted on installing it as head of a political party, the prime motive was to control both the governing tool and the purse strings, as is evidenced on how the royal family controls the majority of business in Swaziland and how on top of that it further places an extra burden on the taxpayer by demanding that the latter must provide for the upkeep of the entire royal family.

Quoting the observation of an academic from the book When the Sleeping Grass Awakens by Richard Levine that, “In Swaziland extra-economic coercion takes the form of forced labour, forced contributions and forced removals. These lie at the heart of a repressive regime of accumulation which characterises comprador bourgeois power. Furthermore, these forms of repression are inconsistent with democracy and are central to an understanding of why there can be no democracy under the royal regime in Swaziland. Accumulation by the royal ruling class is dependent on state control and/or state connection, so that an attack on royal state power becomes an assault on the mechanisms of accumulation itself. At the same time, it must be asserted that there can be no democratic organisation of the state where direct producers are subject to extra-economic forms of coercion.”

It becomes clear that while the royal family remains within the political space, and not the ceremonial one, where the people contest for the provision of goods and services which the royal family is working day and night to monopolise, the Monarch and the Institution of the Monarchy will continue to be subjected to extensive scrutiny and ridicule, and at times to the point of emotional outbursts and rightfully so.

It is not hard to imagine how the Monarch and the Institution of the Monarchy is portrayed when it has removed itself or has been removed from politics. King Zwelithini of the Zulu rarely becomes the content for harsh political wrangling because he is not involved in politics, but only serves as a ceremonial figure. The only time when his name has been portrayed negatively was when he intended marrying an underage girl of fourteen, his habit of excessive spending, and the issue concerning the cruelty to the ritual bull during one of the annual Zulu rituals, otherwise king Zwelithini cannot claim to be subject to the extensive name-calling that king Mswati III has to endure, because he is not involved in day-to-day-politics.

 The sooner we have Mswati III remove himself or be removed from day-to-day politics, the sooner we will have an Institution of the Monarchy with integrity where people like Johannes Sibiya won’t need to make uninformed pleas for respect of the Institution of the Monarchy or the Monarch. Otherwise, in all honesty it is Sobhuza II that opened the prevailing ridicule on the Swazi Institution of the Monarchy, and it is like Mswati III is in full agreement with his father that it should be dragged in the mud until it loses even the last titbits of the remaining cultural credibility that Mswati’s traditionalists are trying to obliterate by involving the reed maidens in name-calling politics and by hurling the regular insult at the nation.

But to finally mention that, that which is the tool of the people is the Institution of the Monarchy, and that the Monarch is like a chief representative of this Institution and that his task is to serve as an errand boy for the nation, hence the king being referred to as a child because a child can be sent anywhere the parent feels is appropriate. That, “the king is the sun”, and all the other butt kissing that the praise singers embark on is just that, butt-kissing and has nothing to do on how the king is supposed to be culturally viewed.

That Mr Sibiya should appreciate that we say, “a king is a king because of the people”, and NOT that, “the people are people because of the king”. Maybe on digesting that Swazi expression he might appreciate that the people are never wrong even if the people are wrong. It is the people that are “the sun”, and the king derives his rays from the shine of the people. Actually the king is like the moon which reflects the shine of the sun; when there is no sun the moon is as cold and dark as non-existence itself. So it is quite unwise to ask the sun to stop scrutinising the moon because it is the sun’s shine that the moon becomes visible, otherwise it would be as invisible as a microscopic organism.  And to enlighten Mr Sibiya that the Swazi Nation as a collective is considered a thing sacred, and not a prop to stabilise the podium.