Saturday, September 21, 2013


How to democratically vote for a dictatorship
The year  2013 did not begin like other years in Swaziland. It was a year known as election year and there were no prices for guessing that there would be a tense standoff between the government and pro-democracy movement.

The government did not speak in words but in action as there was a clear stepping up of security alertness and clamp down on dissent. Democracy activists were arrested for the weakest of dissenting views and activities, and even religious gatherings were abruptly dispersed if there was so much as a whiff of the gathering being associated with the democracy movement.

The zero-tolerance-to-election-disturbances brief given to the Swazi security forces was regarded as so important that in over-eagerness the police banned a march of women who's intention was to protest against the ill of a man who had paraded his partner naked for three kilometers. The police later apologised for the blunder but not after it had generated negative publicity in international media for a Tinkhundla system that was clearly bending over backward to put its best foot forward.

The content of the "classified" brief was also to leak through the stepped-up blatant propaganda which saw the independent Times of Swaziland competing on an almost equal footing with the royally owned Swazi Observer, with the times going as far as labeling the pro-democracy campaign called Global Week of Action ON Swaziland, as Global Week of Action AGAINST Swaziland.  It was clear to even the least attentive of observers that Tinkhundla regime under the leadership of Mswati 111 had dictated a no-nonsense brief that left no doubts as to the liberty to disobey to the briefed.

For obvious reasons it was also clear that the flagship promotion tool for the government in 2013 was to be the elections. From as early as the last months of 2012 almost every government official who had something to say about anything had to incorporate the “values” of the elections in his/her speech. The king regularly urged his subjects  to go out in numbers to vote for their representatives, and advising on “only” Christian candidates as the preferred religious orientation.

The Democratic movement  not only intensified it campaign on boycotting the election inside Swaziland in 2013 but it  also formulated common demands which the umbrella bodies were mandated as the coordinating bodies to package the demands and distribute them for public consumption on behalf of the pro-democracy organisations. One of the strategies identified as important in the planning meeting was the need to step-up the pro-democracy campaign regionally and internationally.

2013 also saw very successful attempts at unifying the pro-democracy movement. PUDEMO, NNLC and TUCOSWA embarked on a campaigning trip to Germany as a unit to speak in one voice on the lack of democracy and the respect of Human Rights in Swaziland. PUDEMO further took the campaign to some of the Nordic countries. Political parties and civic organisations from all walks of Swazi life gathered together to formulate a common campaign that will serve as a single voice of a united pro-democracy movement of Swaziland.

Within the Swazi political labyrinths, there are those that feel that boycotting the elections is tantamount to letting the Tinkhundla regime rule undemocratically without a challenge, and they feel that this challenge would have better traction if it was to be exercised from within the government structures, hence their choice of partaking in the elections that critics refer to as selections.

Most of democracy activists feel that the idea of “fighting from within”, is unlike lending one’s efforts to strengthening and legitimising a system that is undemocratic, and repressive. Sive Siyinqaba; Sibahle Sinje a registered-cultural-group-come-unregistered-political-party, and an unapologetic supporter of  monarchism is a leading proponent in the strategy of fighting from within.

 Pro-democracy activists have on several occasions called  Sive Siyinqaba to task on the change that they have effected in the well over fifteen years that they have fought the Tinkhundla system from within, but the only tangible evidence is that they - according to Musa Hlophe, who is a leader of SCCCO (Swazi Coalition of Concerned Civic Organisations) - in coalition with SCCCO were able to stop the purchasing of a plane for king Mswati 111. But what puts a damper to this achievement is that thereafter Mswati 111 did acquire a private jet under mysterious trade manoeuvres, and that a strategy whose single achievement was to only stop the purchase of an aeroplane in over fifteen years is not a strategy that imbues confidence, when the expected progress is a change in legislation and policy in the direction of democracy.

The fight from within has always been disregarded as an indulgence for pro-monarch “activists”, but when Jan Sithole, a former unionist, with the financial backing from a Danish political party,  entered the political scene advocating for the “within” strategy, the fight from within earned itself the right to be debated as a legitimate subject. The debate continues, maybe with the hope of a conclusion now that Jan Sithole, a President of SWADEPA which is a known political party, has been elected to parliament. The joke is that Mswati 111 might appoint him as the minister of labour as a way of teaching unions the lesson of irony.

During the time that Sibahle Sinje has been fighting from within, there has been almost nothing, if not nothing at all, to show that the fight from within has had any impact; besides if Sibahle sinje is yet to divulge, but that too is doubtful considering that overall there hasn’t been change within the Tinkhundla regime that would suggest that there has been some covert advocacy for legislation and policy change.

So it becomes clear that the real opposition continues to be the pro-democracy activists that are advocating for democracy from without, and the clamp down from government security forces on organisations that are fighting from without is a credible pointer as to the opposition that is really opposing.

The Tinkhundla Regime’s fortification of the the political space is a credible pointer that pro-democracy activism has grown in leaps and bounds in Swaziland, because it is common sense that the strength of the clamp-down on dissent is more or less directly proportional to the strength of the dissent.

So as Swaziland watches on of what will become of the “fight from within” experiment, where Jan Sithole has volunteered as the prominant guinea pig, it is indisputable that real dissent will only come from outside, as it has been this very outside dissent that has educated Swazis, that now, the word democracy is spoken in abundance even though at times it may not yet be fully  understood.

 It is also indisputable that it is the "fight from without" that has created an environment where some Swazis have found it possible to "fight from within", but it may then seem that new politics are suggesting that the child called "fight from within" is now suggesting to its mother, "fight from without" to abandon the strategy that brought it into existence to pursue a strategy that seems to be permanently arrested in infancy.

In 1982, one would talk about democracy and people would think of anything from a kind of high end coffin to speculating that it might be a name of an organisation that deals in food aid. Gradual direct and indirect political education has ensured that the people are gradually exposed to lessons in politics, even if it may be elementary and informal lessons in quality, but the reality is that there is progress even if at times it seems like the progress is travelling at a snail's pace.

The results of the final 2013 elections have helped in proving that Swazi people are not the submissive ignorant subjects that they have been modeled as, but that they are an intelligent, assertive and a people very much ready to determine their destinies. Most MPs, especially those that had clearly shown to have developed swollen heads and had embarked on self-gratification sprees were not reelected, even though it is not known how the king might deprive the people even the scraps of freedom that fell off the master's table by appointing those that the people rejected. The final voting of 2013 has proved that were the Swazi Nation to be given total democracy, they would choose well, especially if they were allowed to choose their own Prime Minister.

That democracy that incorporates a people's government will exist in Swaziland is not a matter of debate because in appreciating recent history, the logical conclusion is that what progresses, regardless of the speed, will in time reach its destination, even if the destination is the beginning of further progress. The fact that Mswati 111 is presenting a half and half of a name, regardless if it was a product of a vision, a dream or a nightmare, is significant enough to give confidence to foresight that democracy is the future regardless if such will be achieved through removing Monarchical from the king's version, or coining it as the democracy that is practiced in almost all first world countries.

Thursday, September 19, 2013


Enter the Matrix
It has become clear that due to the international pressure and the general busyness of the task of running an absolute monarchy, we have volunteered to draft the foreword for the much anticipated Monarchical Democracy textbook. We know that his majesty is kept very busy through explaining the ideology of Tinkhundla, but that is just about to become a thing of the past as the Monarchical Democracy textbook will be handed out to all those forward people asking too many questions about our Traditional System of government.

I think i don’t need to repeat that Monarchical Democracy, first and foremost, is the marriage of the Ballot box and the Monarch, as his majesty has so elaborated on a couple of occasions. To those pessimists that are foreseeing a divorce, please do not bother yourselves because his majesty clarified that Issue not so long ago that our traditional structures do no permit divorces. So this marriage between the monarch and the ballot box is forever. Yes, it is very different from the western marriage.

There might seem like there is confusion on the ownership of Swaziland, but let us make it clear that our forefathers spilled a lot of blood for our clan to own Swaziland. That is the very reason that we will not attend the incwala that will be held by the recently crowned Maseko clan in South Africa. Those idiots have taken advantage of the border issue and through the idiocy of Nhlavana, they have declared themselves royal. Have they ever spilled any blood to deserve such?

But this foreword is not about the Maseko, so we will head back to the main issue. When looking at the two words which are “monarchical” and “democracy”, you will realise that the dictionary clarifies them as two words that mean two opposing things. It is like saying, “I am going Up down.” The beauty is normally in the confusion. It creates a more or less mythical atmosphere. We didn’t call ourselves Siyinqaba for nothing. The whole thing is like poetry. You know like, “the silence is too loud.” Monarchical means an absolute rule by a Monarch, and democracy means representative rule or rule by the people. The trick is that after everything has been explained the audience must remain none the wiser.

In effect the system does not allow any interference from the people. We rule absolutely. Yes, due to these constant noises from inside and the international community we have created structures that might seem like they are a full democracy, but the beauty is that after we create such dummy structures, we then create structures above them to veto any decision that comes from below that we do not like. As you know that at the apex then sits his majesty with full power to veto everything below.   If academics and the other buffoons were clever they would use the point that the system is “fully undemocratic” because his majesty sits at the apex with power to veto anything and everything. But no, they take the bait of proceeding into the maze that we have created trying to sound academic about everything as they analyse this and that.

You should see the confusion, especially with the academics as they analyse the “democratic” structures. Now it is almost official that the system is “not completely undemocratic”. One valuable lesson we have learned is that academics fear to sound ridiculous, so we make the whole thing so ridiculous that they have no choice but to declare us “not undemocratic”, or stand the risk to sound as ridiculous as we have made the system to be. Funny isn’t it?

So basically with the Monarchical Democracy book we are trying acquire as sort of a default “no comment”. From now onwards to whoever wants to know about out governing system, we will assign an individual who will travel with his majesty everywhere so that he can hand out a booklet to all the curious minds out there. Yes we will have it in a textbook form and a compressed version which will be packaged in a hand size booklet that will be used for propaganda purposes.

Im sure you are asking why the foreword is not getting to the point where it clarifies Monarchical Democracy. Well my friend, as mentioned earlier the trick is that after you have read everything you remain as ignorant as when you began reading.

But because we can be generous, we will just give you a teaser on what a Monarchical Democracy is. Especially because we know you enjoy reading the foolish stuff hence a post that has enjoyed over thirty thousand comments on Facebook is a post that talks about pastors, snakes and the underworld. Yes, we do monitor that because we like it when the people focus on the useless stuff while we enjoy their taxes without any interference.

If we can jerk your submissive mind back to reality we could remind the reader that just now in this foreword we promised to give a teaser on explaining the Monarchical Democracy, but I am very sure the reader’s mind was already drooling on what we would further say  in relation to the post on Facebook, and had already forgotten of the real issue which is thee clarity on the Monarchical Democracy.

We know you are very curious, and we know you want to know what a Monarchical Democracy is. But my friends, no one can tell you what a Monarchical Democracy is; you have to experience  for yourself to know it. WELCOME TO THE REAL WORLD.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


Prince Masitsela: One of the main achitects of the
undemocratic Tinkhundla Regime
Swazi people have never been given an opportunity to independently decide if they want to be ruled through a multi-party democratic system. On the run-up to the 1964 elections king Sobhuza 11 had already voiced his reservations concerning political parties. The reason that there were three elections conducted under multi-party democracy was because the first two elections were conducted under the threat of an independence that hadn’t been officially granted by the British administration.

The reason that in 1973 Sobhuza 11 had to finally undemocratically steal all ruling power was because the campaigning for the 1972 elections had proven to be a nightmare for the Imbokodvo National Movement (INM).

 One Swazi woman recalls on how Price Masitsela would appear at all manner of ungodly hour at her homestead to request services of her husband who was known for his oratory skills. Apparently NNLC’s education on the benefits of multi-party democracy had more than taken root but were flourishing in spite of a barrage of state funded propaganda that multi-democracy was an equivalent to bloodshed. What terrified the living daylights out of the woman was that her husband had been a member of the NNLC previously, and was viewed as a traitor by members of the NNLC.

Competition for votes was so intense that the woman felt very unsafe when her husband had to leave with Prince Masitsela on many occasions. She said times of Masitsela’s arrival at her homestead ranged from 11 PM to 3 AM, because later than that another, Prince or another INM campaigner would have already arrived to whisk  her husband away to wherever area the NNLC  had gained popularity. Apparently Masitsela was the early riser or non-sleeper as he was the one that acquired the services of the orator most of the times as the elections campaign turned him into a nocturnal creature.

She said that at times the situation would get so terrifying that, “At one time I had to ask Masitsela to drop me off at my sister’s place because as soon as he had left with my husband, I wouldn’t be able to sleep thinking the NNLC members would break into our house”

She said the reason that she feared for her life was because some NNLC members would talk about killing her husband when they were aware that she was within hearing distance. She said her husband would shrug it off as propaganda tactics of which he was well aware of, but she said that to her it was a time of heightened fear.

It was not only the woman that was terrified but Sobhuza 11 and most of the aristocracy were at pains to contain an NNLC which had made inroads into areas that the aristocracy wouldn’t have dreamt that it (NNLC) would penetrate.

According to the woman almost every area that her husband would visit with Masitsela or one of the princes, would convert from being an NNLC area to an INM area. She says her husband was so gifted with his oratory skills that king Sobhuza 11 gave him the name, MdumbadumbanePresumably the other enhancer of the oration was that it was based on a lie that instilled fear in the audience, which made it easy for the people to change their minds.
 Funny enough Swaziland was to be later subjected to a State indoctrination radio show called Khala Mdumbadumbane.

The INM based its 1972 campaign on a lie that political parties brought violence. When I asked the woman on what else she could remember about the wording of the INM’s 1972 elections campaign besides that political parties brought violence, she said, “Angitsi nguloko lokwakumcoka kutsi batfu bavele basabe ema-party.” (What was important was that people should fear political parties.)

The fact that Sobhuza 11 had his preconceived fear of political parties was the reason that the INM’s 1972 election campaign was based on a lie. Sobhuza 11 made his reservations  on political party democracy known to the British Administration prior to the 1964 elections by mentioning that he did not think that it would work well with the Swazi way of life.

But on the backdrop of two successive defeats, and a mildly restricted political campaigning, the NNLC proved that multi-party democracy might after-all, contrary to Sobhuza’s beliefs, work quite brilliantly with the Swazi way of life when it won three seats in parliament.  The Mpumalanga constituency had given a king an effective thumbs-down. Three seats might have seemed like a humble representation to a regular person, but it was more or less a massacre to the INM and the aristocracy at the time.  Sobhuza 11could not let the people catch on like that and disturb the accumulation machinery, so, “walugoba lusemanti” (struck the iron while it was still hot) through a decree that from that day on, all power was vested in him. He went on and even banned political parties. 

Not only was the control of the governing tool important for the sake of comprador  accumulation, but it  insured that  it was complemented by state controlled accumulation. With winning three seats, the NNLC had shown potential to be a ruling party. With the NNLC in the driving seat, the possibility of clamping down even on the compador accumulation was very high. So Sobhuza was not going to take chances by letting a bunch of "wannabes" take control of government. Actually for the fact the all the wealth held by the king was held under the claim of holding it "in trust of the nation" required that Sobhuza stay in power, otherwise on securing power the NNLC could say that it was then the representative of the people and could demand that Sobhuza hand over all the wealth.

It would have been prudent for the king that came after Sobhuza 11 to backtrack to his father’s mistake of violating the sacred Swati saying that, “Inkhosi yinkhosi ngebantfu” ( A king is a king because of the people). But king Mswati 111 was not to do that. He was to use his father’s blunder as a stepping stone to deviate further from the Swazi way of life.  In 1989 on the backdrop of people’s demands, he uttered the first public insult to the Swazi people that was to serve as a starting point for more blatant insults directed at the nation. That insult was also to serve a starting point to stepped-up arbitrary arrests enforced through the Apartheid style, 60 day detention.

It is on this knowledge that we stand confident that until Tinkhundla Regime backtracks to 1973 and take lessons from that point, it will continue to be asked to continuously clarify what Tinkhundla system is, and it will continue to give an incoherent answer because was the system to be defined for the repressive tool that it is, it would appear like the wolf that it is and not the sheep that it is being sold as by those that accumulate through it. It will continue to have its supporters clutching at straws trying to find adequate definitions even to the point of seeing visions through bad weather,  but beyond the dilly-dallying it will remain a tool of accumulation which has submerged over two thirds of the population in poverty, has created the highest HIV/AIDS prevalence rate in the world, and according to Forbes magazine it has left Mswati 111 with an estimated 200 million dollar as his personal fortune, besides the billions generated by Tibiyo Takangwane which is supposed to be a national fund but is used as the aristocracy’s personal bank account.  

Even if the supporters of Tinkhundla could write a book thicker than two leather-bound king James version of the bible, they still wouldnt be able to explain Monarchical Democracy which is a confusion of two opposing words. Actually it would be wiser for king Mswati 111 to write a document responding to the 2012 Sibaya recommendations because it is almost a given that writing a book explaining a Monarchical Democracy would only be of interest to Trevor Noah, and would do nothing to address the economic crisis that is still hanging over Swaziland like a thunderstorm that brings no visions, and the continued demonisation of political parties. 

The people will continue to educate one another on multi-party democracy up to the point that they will be so aware that they will stand up at Sibaya and demand multi-party democracy as they did at the 2012 Sibaya. But if the regime continues the culture of 1973, it will come to the point that the people will not even attend Sibaya because recommendations made in that forum are nothing more than kutihhamula (chit-chatting).

At the 2012 Sibaya it was the “ordinary” people that stood up to demand multi-party democracy, and at the 2013 Sibaya T.V Mtseftwa, the Traditional Prime Minister called the people timfucuta (filth). It is quite clear that as the people continue to be more aware of their plight and the cause, the aristocracy continues to be more arrogant and uncaring.

Many have been the lessons but too little has been the will to learn by the aristocracy and all its arms. The clock is ticking and the people’s conscious on self-determination continues to rise, in spite of the clamp down on some of the lessons. The word sedition which is used to torture and imprison democracy activists will not prevent the people’s conscious from rising and will not prevent the activists from advocating for democracy. Much has been the brutality on the people and still they advocate for democracy. Even if the Tinkhundla regime can spill more innocent blood like the apartheid regime did to the Soweto students in 1976, still the people will continue to advocate for democracy and Human Rights as the people of South Africa so resiliently did not so long ago. History in all its gory tells us that once a people begin a campaign for the freedom, they will not let -up until they attain that Freedom. But history also tells us that there is no dictatorship that had common sense enough to figure out that the inevitable fall of previous dictators might just apply to his dictatorship.

It is now time for the Tinkhundla Regime to swallow its pride, cut its losses and humbly allow the free flow of information in Swaziland. It is time to unclasp that cold hand of fear that is clutching the door handle to free expression. It is time to allow the people to assemble in peace without the fear of the security forces. But mostly it is time to let go of Sobhuza’s fear that political parties are a prelude to violence. We have seen South Africa expand out of the clutches of apartheid. When all inclusive multi-party democracy was introduced in South Africa, it was then that children of the Swazi elite were taken to South Africa in droves, and the king’s children now go to South Africa to get medical attention. If multi-party democracy is so violent and unworkable, then why are the king of Swaziland and the elite the first in line to reap the fruits of multi-party democracy in South Africa and other countries of the world?

Sunday, September 15, 2013


The Tinkhundla system of governance is covered by such a deceptive primitive veneer that to undermine its effectiveness becomes easy. It is sold as an ancient “traditional” system when it is just as modern as any modern repressive system.  Reporters and analyst are sold the “culture” trick because it is known that analysts only deal with things they learned in academia, and an undocumented culture of an insignificant country like Swaziland would quickly dissuade academics from probing further. It is claimed to be a mixture of modern and traditional when it is clear that the “traditional” is used as a decoy to deliberately drive away focus from a very modern repressive system that if properly probed would be seen for the modern repressive dictatorship that it is.

Zodwa Mkhonta, one of those that were charged with treason
for fighting for the establishment of democracy in Swaziland.

Analysts do not ask themselves why this ancient “traditional” system is using modern tools to quash dissenting voices. Guns, teargas, a modern army and a modern police force are used to protect this system of “our forefathers”. Wouldn’t it make better sense that a traditional system would have less violent traditional tools of dealing with a disapproving nation? Some even go further seeking to believe that an unorganised gathering of Swazi people in a cattle kraal at the residence of the dictator would serve as a credible means of formulating policy.

It is also part of Swazi history that the system has co-opted many a selfish individual because of the material benefits once inside, because it is a system exclusively designed for the purpose of accumulation. The irony is that it is the British that have provided the most curious way of being co-opted, when it is the British that supposedly gave Swazi people their independence.

It is then not surprising that Chatham House (The Royal Institute of International Affairs) would have been the source of a controversial report. The British have provided us with much comedy and pain over the years.

Even though Chatham House asserts that it is an independent body, it has been my whole life’s experience in Swaziland that when an institution prefixes, or suffixes its name with “Royal”, that, that institution is anything but independent. But to avoid derailing from dealing with the subject, and to focus on the issue and not the issuer, it would be more beneficial to focus on the content and not the messenger.

We cannot though say that Chatham House completely missed the rabbit hole because the economy part of the report not only exposes what is obviously evident, but it also goes further and sheds some light on things that would be regarded as previously unreported or not publicised. Personally being a follower of the recent less-rise and more-fall of the Swazi economy, I found myself to have been economically further enlightened after reading the report.  But it has been a trick known in Swaziland that a selfish parent will scold the kid harshly in public, only to reward it for the wrong committed in private.

The fact that thereafter Chatham House then went and did a predominantly confused political analysis was to be expected. The Swazi system always misleads and we all have learned after being bitten twice or thrice.  At times I remember on how I used to frequently repeat that, “I promise that I will do my best.  To do my duty to God and to the king.” I found nothing wrong with uttering the statement when I have never been supportive of the monarch or the Monarchy or rather that the institution held no meaning to me besides as a source of fear.

What baffled my mind though is that Chatham House outlines a number of credible points why the system is undemocratic, then the report concludes by saying the system is democratic. One point the report made was that, “The cabinet is appointed by the king and the queen mother, and executive decisions are administered through a network of chiefs. Power is exercised almost exclusively by the royal court, and traditional authority has undermined attempts at reform.”

To make an almost all encompassing statement that asserts that, “….. power is exercised almost exclusively by the royal court….”, then within the same report assert that, “The Swazi political system is not undemocratic”. If power is almost exclusively exercised by the royal court then where is the democracy there?

 Chatham House’s report further asserts that, “He (the king) may veto legislation and dissolve parliament at will.” It has been widely reported that this very ill is the very arrogance that had the constitution authored in the royal court, hence the inconsistencies and contradictions that have rendered the constitution a worthless piece of paper. After making such a claim that even legislation is decided in the royal court, it is very disturbing that Chatham House should still be confident and maintain that the Swazi governing system is democratic.

Then the report makes an observation that is not obvious but very important. It says that, “The right to freedom of expression in the constitution does not include the right of Access to Information.” It is common sense that the freedom of expression without freedom to Information is like being given a beautiful container without the food that is supposed to nourish the body; it is a useless cosmetic. Freedom to information is the very foundation to democracy. Why would then Mr Alex Vines and colleagues still maintain that Swaziland is democratic? If I didn’t know better I would assert that Mr Vines and colleagues were deliberately avoiding the rabbit hole.

Again the report further hides its head in the sand when it asserts that, “Under the current constitution, Section 25 recognizes the freedoms of association and assembly and implies the removal of the ban on political parties”, and fails to further adequately probe this issue which is part of what would render the constitution null and void, which would conclude that the Swazi system is totally undemocratic.  This statement says that the report recognises the section 25 and section 79 contradictions, where section 25 gives the right to associate and assemble, only for that right to be nullified by section 79 which asserts that election candidacy will be embarked on individually.

 I say that section 79 nullifies section 25 because it is fact that it is the practice of section 25 that security forces are sent out in large numbers to quash. When asked about political party participation, section 25’s citation is glossed over by tinkhundla proponents because it is common knowledge that the system works day and night to prevent the practice of section 25, and dwelling on the subject would spark a debate over the officially sanctioned disregard for the constitution.

I haven’t really got to the conclusion as to why Mr Vines and colleagues would seem to be deliberately hiding the absence of democracy in Swaziland after they have done a reasonably good job on reporting and analysing the economy. If I was a dealer in flattery I would insinuate that they were outsmarted by the system which was designed to confuse especially those that are not conversant with Swazi culture and manufactured Swazi culture. Maybe I could say that they are victims to the Freedom To Be Deceived that is generously offered by the regime to those trying to expose it. But what prevents me from embarking on such flattery is that the report contains all the information whose conclusion is the obvious absence of democracy in Swaziland, but the report concludes otherwise; why? I also doubt very much that the obvious contradictory nature of the report is by mistake; but that is just speculation. What is not speculation though is that Chatham House has put its name on a report that is very untrue. It is only time will reveal the reason behind this fraud that has been practiced on the Swazi people. 


Recently during a dialogue of Swazi people a South African Activist who has internalised the plight of the Swazi people so much that when I first saw her talking on the Swazi situation, I had no doubt that she was a Swazi person. When I was told that she is not a Swazi, I then asked how she could feel so strongly on a pain that was not hers. I was then told that she visits Swaziland regularly and she interacts with the Swazi people in pain, at the locations where the misery obtains. It then all made sense how this lady could identify with Swazi people at such an intimate level because it is said that if you are not the one being beaten, stand next to the one being beaten, at the time that they are being beaten, and after a couple  of beatings, it would be as if you too are being beaten.

A protest in London against the absence of
democracy in Swaziland
This good person made a statement that, “Swazi people love their king”. At face value, such a statement wouldn’t sound untrue, hence how it has come to enjoy unearned credibility. But in seeking to bring some clarity on this matter, or maybe even to inspire further dialogue on the issue, I stood up to challenge this statement. Not really to accuse the activist of speaking an untruth but to bring caution to the loose use of this statement.

It would be very hard to trace the originator of the statement that Swazi people love their king, but Swaziland at a glance would deceive anyone into regarding this statement as fact. Even though the numbers have dwindled, it is fact that when the king summons us to wherever, we attend in numbers. At such events we sing songs that not only declare our undying love for the king, but such love is paraded so dramatically that it would be likened to worship.

 In our everyday language we directly and indirectly communicate this love for the king. Sowutenta inkhosi! (You are behaving like a king!), is a statement issued when someone demands service that the other feel is undeserved because it Is the king that must always be served, deserving or undeserving. Actually the language that a king does not deserve anything does not exist in Swaziland; the king is always deserving of any anything.

When we communicate shock we say, “Nkhosi yami?” (My King!). When we communicate sympathy we say, “Nkhosi yami!” We refer to God as Inkhosi  (King), and we also refer to the king as Nkhosi (King). We also refer to Jesus Christ as Nkhosi (King). We say the king is the sun; he is what brings us light. We say to the king, “Bengiyini mine,  ngiyinja nje!” (What am I but just a dog in your presence). We are not supposed to maintain eyelevel height with the king as it is a sign of being equal to the king hence the crawling on the knees, crawling on the buttocks, and crawling on the stomach when in the presence of the king. The women are not supposed to be in the presence of the king when in mourning because they carry “darkness” which might just dilute the king’s light.

Traditionally we are not supposed to taste our agricultural produce until the king has tasted the first produce of the year and has given us permission to do so. We cannot have a homestead until one of the king’s representatives, which is the chief, has allocated us a piece of land which is referred to as “the king’s land”. Actually we cannot grow anything in the ground until the king’s representative has allocated us a piece of “the king’s land”. Before our children can go to school, the king’s representative must give a stamp of approval that we are worthy Swazis. Almost everything of significance prefixes or suffixes with “Royal”.

With over two thirds of the population living in poverty, almost every cent of currency and almost every grain of food  in charity comes in the name of the king. It is said that the king is back from his friends overseas and he asked for something for us because he loves us so much. We become very gratefull to the king for such kindness of “caring” about us.

From childhood it is an unspoken known that to participate in the royal structures is a ticket to acceptance from one’s immediate community up to being accepted for a job interview in adulthood.  Allegiance through participation is the foundation that decides one’s success or the lack thereof.  It is fact that almost every door that one needs to open, the stamp of approval of the king’s representative who is the chief is a must, and if the subject has been disobedient to the king’s representative, it almost a guarantee that a person will not taste success within the confines of Swaziland.

It may then seem that the question to ascertain if the people love the king would be an unfair and leading. It then seems that the appropriate question to ask would be one that ascertains if the people have a choice not to love the king. So the appropriate debate subject would be: WHAT ARE THE CHANCES THAT ONE WOULD FIND SUCCESS IN SWAZILAND IF THEY PUBLICLY DECLARED THAT THEY DO NOT LOVE THE KING? OR DO THE PEOPLE REALLY LOVE THE KING?

What has been outlined above is just a tip of the iceberg on how the Tribute Extraction machinery operates in Swaziland because if we can go further and outline mythological Swaziland, it becomes more clear that the love question is not a typical one in Swaziland, and if we could further interrogate the cult of personality, things get more complex. The fact that the Tribute Extraction machinery might seem primitive does not necessarily equate to that it is ineffective, hence its ability to mislead even the most of well-intentioned people. It is a system that was designed to mislead and over the years it has been fine tuned to also accommodate the arrogant mind that has declared that academia is the only place for intellectual enhancement.

So to answer the question as to what the king is to the Swazi people. He is the mother, the father, he holds the key to shelter, to nourishment, to social status, and when it suits the agenda, he can be the child of the nation. He is a national philanthropist considering that all that comes to the people must come in his name and not much charity escapes the stamp of the king. In short, the king in Swaziland is the very existence of Swazi people. So to ask if the people love the king is like asking if Swazi people eat food to survive. So, that either people love or don't love the king is an irrelevant question.