Saturday, November 16, 2013


welfare-state is a "concept of government in which the state plays a key role in the protection and promotion of the economic and social well-being of its citizens. It is based on the principles of equality of opportunity, equitable distribution of wealth, and public responsibility for those unable to avail themselves of the minimal provisions for a good life.

Transportation in Norway
Modern welfare states include the Nordic countries, such as IcelandSwedenNorwayDenmark, and Finland which employ a system known as the Nordic model.

A friend recently asked me how “workable” is the idea of a welfare state because in his understanding you can’t empower anybody by giving him the fish. Since he is a believer in the “fishing rod” way of doing things, I told him that what welfare states do is to avail a huge fishing boat that hauls in thousands of fish at a time. In the meanwhile the state keeps giving the individual the fish with the knowledge that sooner rather than later s/he will jump in the boat to go fishing because the temptation of enjoying the fruits of the boat load are much more compelling than the incentives of sitting around and enjoying the benefits of rationed fish. The boat in this instance signifying the high quality education and all the social well-being benefits offered in Nordic welfare states which rank as one of the best in the world.

Vito Laterza in his article written for Al Jazeera argues that the indigenous economies and social systems of Southern Africa in general and Swaziland in particular haven’t been given enough space and time to prove their case as tangible economies and social structures that could actually serve as alternative economies especially for the areas in question. He later argues in a Blog that such suppression of the local way of doing things is partly due to the democracy imported from the north. He further argues that the reason that people in Swaziland are not decisively calling for multi-party democracy is because they have seen the unworkability of the system and they feel safer with the, “old time religion”.

The structuring of democratic institutions might differ and also it might be a product of academia, but democracy in its essence is contained within the idea of fairness, so it is not unequivocally true that it can be imported. The fact that the call for multi-party democracy has been long in coming is because there has been a state sponsored campaign since the time of king Sobhuza II, which has worked day and night to demonise plurality, the schools have been used as propaganda institutions, and all the media in Swaziland is state controlled. So to say Swazis have not been heeding the call for democracy because they see value in the present Tinkhundla system is not an honest assertion.

However much I have tried to look at it, I have never really understood the concept of, “African solutions for African problems”. But such a statement has come to enjoy more legitimacy as the witch-hunt for the “imperialist” intensifies, and multinational corporations are trotting the globe under the protection of sovereign flags. We have been divided and ruled so many times that we too advocate for division as a way of dealing with the colonial post traumatic side effects that present themselves as hate rhetoric that is sold as self-assertion when in reality it is the lessons that  we have learned from master that, “the only way to gain control is by setting up, racial, religious, national, continental, and sexual groups”, which can then be asserted as exceptional entities thereafter the philosophy  that hold one man superior and another inferior rages like wild fire. When will we ever identify and assert ourselves as purely human beings and not the schisms that we have limited ourselves to? We have been hijacked and exploited by the global industrial complex and our search and rescue efforts have been almost exclusively focused on Western governments and not the multinational corporations that, in ignorant support we have - on our way to the witch hunt - bought one commodity or the other sold by one or the other of their myriad appendages.

The article by Vito Laterza seems to suggest that there must be, “Swazi solutions for Swazi problem”.  Not to isolate the article because there are those who believe that Swaziland will be liberated in a bubble, oblivious of the global context, some of which being well-meaning political activists. I am sure that Vito enjoys the security of a title deed or the comfort of a lease agreement wherever he is dwelling, but he then suggests that such comfort should not be enjoyed by Swazi people but that the latter should be grateful for the privilege of occupying space at a “minimal” fee.  It is clear that this twisted “freedom for the Nobles” and “freedom for the commoners” still lays latent within collective thought, and now and again it presents itself as the, “more equal, and less equal”, commodity that it is.

The article, at arriving at this “gratitude” that Swazis should feel, bypasses an integral part of the debate, which is that of Swazis being given back the land they were disposed of by the royal family, the colonial administration and foreign capital. As there is no credible documentation of who was disposed of what, that an equal redistribution of certain portions of land to those willing to work the land should be the first order of business. After such redress and an informed stocktaking, after which it is then that the issue of welfare and the extent thereof can be debated. The misconception has always been the assumption that throwing wholesale charity at the problem will solve it. Well, it has been done from the sixties by the West and clearly it is not working so the idea that direct involvement in the economy must be the solution must be a correct one because the throwing of the scraps in the direction of “the poor” is obviously having an opposite effect of the desired result.

Having commented on the article previously, I’m again compelled - by the author’s blog which still maintains  the claim that kukhonta (land tenure where the chief gives of land in exchange for a lifetime of unquestioning loyal indenture) has legitimacy in the future of Swaziland. To argue that kukhonta system is not only not similar to a welfare-state system but that it is an antithesis of the system, especially the Nordic Model.

Even though the article goes a long way into outlining the state of affairs in Swaziland, it falls short of selling its thrust point which is that of presenting the kukhonta tenure system as some form of welfare-state system. What the article misses is that the welfare state system ‘s main selling point is not grounded in charity but providing means to fall back onto before, in between, and after productive involvement in the economy of any given individual and how the social structures ensures that such an individual does not disintegrate into a statistic. The fact that the kukhonta system with its allocation of limited land barely addresses sustenance production which is not even a whisper of the real welfare-state system which goes beyond the economical need and addresses the myriad aspects of social well-being.

Actually to insinuate that any aspect of the Tinkhundla system somehow resembles a welfare-state system, especially the Nordic Model, comes across as an insult to real welfare if we consider that even the meagre elderly grant was historically founded as a tool to enforce loyalty and not a genuine means to address the plight of the elderly, which is evidenced in uncaring manner in which the initiative has been handled by the Tinkhundla regime where the initial value of the grant has drastically decreased even after an increase of 10%.

In my opinion Finland is one of the countries that serve as an example of a welfare system gone fantastically right, or rather a welfare state system that has been excellently managed and administered. The Finns make sure that all children get fed by providing free meals at school. They subsidize student travel, which they feel is a major part of the education process. 93% of Finns graduate from high school. All teachers in Finland must have a masters degree, which is fully subsidized. The United Nations World Happiness Report 2013 shows that the happiest nations are concentrated in Northern Europe, with Denmark topping the list. The Nordics ranked highest on the metrics of real GDP per capita, healthy life expectancy, having someone to count on, perceived freedom to make life choices, freedom from corruption, and generosity.

For the author of the article to put the Tinkhundla regime and the word “welfare” in one sentence took me aback, and for him to further rally on a claim he hasn’t conclusively argued, is in my opinion irresponsible because the reality is that we are dealing with the livelihoods of people who on a daily basis have to undergo one of the most poor living conditions seen on the globe today. It is my hope that the author of the article can write a paper that conclusively argues the claim that the kukhonta system carries any qualities of a welfare system or retract his claims. Having grown up under the system and having endured the nuances of its cruelty,  it is my opinion that his claims that the kukhonta system resembles a welfare-state system are unfounded and cannot be substantiated but as debate is such a free commodity, the author is more than welcome to argue his beliefs.

Just to state the obvious that if the article written by Vito for Al Jazeera was to be written by a Swazi activist and if such an activist were to find himself at arm’s length of the Royal Swaziland Police, surely that wretched soul would be strapped with handcuffs, slapped with a sedition charge and thrown into a filthy holding cell; and that is a fact which is a regular occurrence in Swaziland, and the only “welfare” given in Swazi prisons is meagre food rations, intimidation and torture.

Monday, November 11, 2013


Not so long ago in the Africa I grew up in it was quite a common phenomenon that a father of a home would pull in at 04h30 in the crack of dawn with parts of his face doused in white ash while reciting a tall tale of being abducted by ghosts for the whole night. Normally what would have delayed the fairy-tale husband would be the warm bosom of another woman.  The women saw through the idiocy but could only suffer in silence because contradicting a husband was one of many punishable offences in a number of traditional-codes where patriarchy was not only tolerated but promoted. This phenomenon still persists in present day but the excuses have become modern yet the idiocy inherent is still the same.

One can only watch in shock how the sustainable expose of Edward Snowden has invoked the very demons of idiocy in the NSA of America. It is a subject that does not need much study to figure out why idiocy and secrecy are peas in a pod. It has been proven time and again that an idiotic state of mind is not an innovative one because to, “blame it on the ghost” is as lame an excuse as, “blame it on the alcohol”. Idiocy is just a cheap trick juggler and wisdom never forms part of its “clever” passing show.

One of the main reasons why idiocy is prevalent in third world Africa as it is in allegedly first world America is the need for secrecy  in order to facilitate the unscrupulous accumulation of the influential few. Where there is a need for secrecy, idiocy will always rear its dumb head. It does no matter if such secrecy is required in "medieval" Africa where the burning loin is covered with a mere piece of cowhide, or in twenty first century America where  officials are dressed in well-tailored Armani suits and where manufacturing of terrorists has become a “logical” industrial necessity to justify the perpetration of the American war machine that serves as solid business base for corporations that have made it their business to profit from the spilling of blood of innocent people.

Having a low embarrassment threshold, it was with a flushed face that I had to watch Guantanamo Prison officials on Russia Today news channel, trying to idiotically  justify certain inhumane procedures employed on the prisoners. One official in a matter-of-factly tone mentioned that the force-feeding by using a tube on the prisoners is actually a painless procedure and that it only feels “strange” when inserted in the nostril. In furthering the idiocy, the official “proved” his theory by pointing out that the reason he ascertained that it is not painful is because the prisoners, “choose” the nostril they prefer.

Had I had been under the care of Guantanamo when I had to take successive painful injections for a serious infection, I would have been passed off as an enjoyer of the needle, it may seem. When the doctor started to tap-tap on the syringe to dispel the air bubbles I would hastily direct him to the butt chick that was less painful. The reason I would choose a particular butt-chick was because the injection was painful and not because I was enjoying it.

The expectation is that when moving thousands of miles away from GTMO (Guantanamo) which is a first world torture facility to Swaziland which is more or less a third world dictatorship, there would be fluctuation in the levels of idiocy, but such is not the case; catching idiocy is as similar as catching the flue. When looking at the parallels you find that the idiocy is literally verbatim regardless of geographical area, race, religion, or social status.

Recently when king Mswati III of Swaziland announced the name change of the oppressive Tinkhundla regime and that the name change was an instruction from God who spoke to him through stormy weather, the average reaction was that of shock at the level of idiocy contained within the announcement. Even though the ruler of the tiny African dictatorship is not known for his eloquence, he is not what could be termed as a complete idiot. As much as the “name from God” is a contradictory “Monarchical Democracy”, it is known that Swazi officials, including the king do get quizzed now and again on the plurality of the undemocratic Tinkhundla system and i guess the king thought he could finally-put-the-matter-to-bed and quash all the yapping that was going on. But the laws of idiocy maintained that from then onward he was not only required to explain what Tinkhundla is, but he now has to explain to English speaking people what Monarchical Democracy is.

From its inception in 1978 the Tinkhundla governing system of Swaziland was supposed to serve as a tool to maintain some level of secrecy in order that the different types of accumulation for the royal family could be perpetrated without the greater population being the wiser, hence the the populace funded Tibiyo Takangwane still being "held in trust for the nation" by Mswati III with the clarity of its legal ownership being a question considered seditious ramblings by the powers that be.

There are a number of idiotic statements that have been uttered by Tinkhundla officials in order to maintain the secrecy and to keep the secret out of public debate. A recent being the dangerous statement by finance minister Majozi Sithole when he misled all involved that Swaziland was out of the financial crisis when it got the allowance from Southern African Customs Union (SACU).  Sithole knew better than most people that Swaziland was in a financial crisis before Swaziland got into the present financial crisis but he uttered the statement as a form of sleeping pill to the populace so that the issue that had become less secretive could get out of public scrutiny, and they, as employees of the regime could get on with the job of siphoning state funds for themselves, the royal family and the elite.

So regardless if it is an idiotic statement issued by a US GTMO official that there is transparency when GTMO radio station is not even allowed to broadcast GTMO news, or if it is issued by Swaziland government spokesperson Percy Simelane saying that South Africa thinks it has a better democracy because it is better at soccer; it doesn't matter; idiocy is idiocy. The idiocy and the quality thereof is usually, most times than not, brought about by the level of secrecy needed in order that a few can benefit at the expense of the many.

The stooges of profit will sell Privacy and Secrecy as the same difference while their real definitions are miles apart from the hypnosis flashed on the silver screens. The point is that GTMO is not a phenomenon that is exclusive to the Cuban soil which is being held at sanction-point by America, but that GTMO is a cruel enterprise that can be easily exported as Iraq has learned the hard way.

America is presently constructing a costly embassy in Swaziland which has brought confusion to some of us as the investment does not seem to be complimenting the strategic potential. Instead of America decreasing its mission to dictatorship Swaziland, it looks like it has just begun arriving and the intentions can only be content for speculation while we contemplate the future of the headquarters of AFRICOM which is at present located in grumpy spied-upon Germany.

The second point is that when the shit hits the fan, it is not only Swazis that will be abducted by ghosts, but a good number of Americans will come along for the paranormal ride if the unhealthy tendency of America of playing forked tongued snakes and sliding ladders with known dictatorships is not brought to a screeching halt by the American people. It has also become public discourse that it is not the American people that are perpetrating atrocities around the world but that the American governing tool is held hostage by corporations that are using it for profiteering, and that the American people are just as victims as the rest of us.

 So when king Mswati III and his wives visit Las Vegas to splurge, it would be prudent of Americans to take part of the responsibility for indiscriminately distributing AID to known dictatorships like Swaziland, claiming to have oversight on the matter while escalating corruption of the government has proved otherwise. This practice of cushioning dictatorships by propping up state affairs through funding parts of the economy, has been part of the problem that has sustained the abuse of human rights, especially in Africa. It is fact that now we do speak English in Africa, which part of is thanks to financial AID, but the multi lingual trick hasn't resulted in reduced poverty and there is no need for algebra to figure that out because hunger has a distinct smell. 

The fact is that the globe is becoming smaller with advancement in communication and transportation, and what was once a physical border can easily be turned into one country with a click of a button. So my problem in seemingly insignificant Swaziland can easily turn itself into a walking-talking-and-asking-embarrassing-questions-in-Washington-DC, like the Pakistani family which was in America recently to ask the reason why their grandmother and mother had to be bombed by a drone.

It is also clear that beyond Edward Snowden’s expose, the spying/secrecy machinery would have come up with more secure measures to prevent being found out in the future and that under such wolf tendencies, it does not matter if one comes from Lesotho or America, and that in the eyes of the wolves all is prey regardless of nationality, religious or ethnic background. So it looks like the cruel idiocy is about to reproduce abundantly and while we continue to define ourselves as this and that and not as human beings, the wolves will gorge themselves to obesity. 

It is clear that it is not about nationality or any other label anymore, but about those that want to serve themselves at the death of many and those that see value in the selfless service to others. To reiterate that American exceptionalism is just a hoax sold by the agents of big industry to create a cult like atmosphere so that Americans can think that they are different from other human being when the reality is that we are equal with different talents; the prime law of these bloodsuckers has always been divide and rule, and it will be always be divide and kill even if it comes dressed in the church cloth.

 It would serve as some sort of comedy to mention that Swaziland, a country with 69% of the population living in poverty, with the highest HIV/AIDS prevalence in the whole world, also has been sold the idea of exceptionalism, and there is a good number of Swazi people that believe the delusion that they are exceptional in comparison to other human beings. In my opinion Swazi people that believe in the delusion called Swazi-Exceptionalism feel stronger about their exceptionalism that Americans who believe in American-Exceptionalism. With the Swazi people, exceptionalism is a thing of deep emotion that has been sold as tradition and culture by those that serve themselves at the suffering of others because bloodsuckers are all over the globe.

 The only thing that seems to be American-Exceptionalism is the "Lone-gunman" phenomenon that has defied science's scrutiny, which only leaves the conclusion that it is a product "made in America", which should have Americans asking who the target market is supposed to be for this sick product and who is manufacturing it because nobody just ups and starts shooting up the neighborhood. The reason for Muslim extremism is known and the sicko in Norway was clearly trying to set up a NAZI franchise. What beats me is why Americans are not asking themselves why the lone-gunmen phenomenon is only happening in America on such a regular basis.  

I guess the whole point is to inspire reflective thinking on the division and that most of the schisms are a decoy from the fact that we are all human beings and the only difference is that there are those that are hard at work to bring suffering to fellow human beings and there are those that are working towards their fellow human being’s positive evolution. So when Mswati III's  wives are spotted in Las Vegas spending like there is no tomorrow, Americans must know that the joke is on them too because American taxpayer’s money does indirectly fund the lifestyle of Mswati III who has  to finance the expensive taste of more than ten wives who have acquired the taste for the Gucci look.  We are all being taken for a ride by these Takers and people of the first world think the joke is on the people of the third world when the joke is on all of us.