Earlier this month while introducing Barnabas Dlamini (the man he had illegally chosen to be Swaziland’s new Prime Minister) King Mswati III, spoke emotionally about how ‘terrorists’ were threatening the kingdom. He gave Dlamini the mandate to get the terrorists and all who support them.
The king also made open criticisms of neighbouring South Africa for, he said, encouraging the terrorism.
Some of the Swaziland media (especially the print media) commented on this at the time and wondered why the king had lost his temper. As is the way of the media in Swaziland, they then blamed it all on the king’s ‘advisors’ (whoever they may be).
All this background is by way of introducing a reader’s letter to the editor that was published in the Times of Swaziland today (31 October 2008). The reader is not as mealy-mouthed as the journalists. The reader puts the blame squarely on King Mswati III and says what the king said was ‘shameful’.
The reader publicly questions the king, ‘How can you talk this way in front of your people?
‘How can you tell your people to be ready for blood?
‘As a king, we expect him to be a symbol of peace and of unity but what I heard at Sibaya was just shameful.’
The letter writer goes on, ‘The king declared war, his traditional warriors are ready and again his uniformed forces are ready too.
‘They are ready to fight whom?
‘It’s surprising that they are ready to fight his people.
‘Instead of the king to handle the situation, he worsens it.’
It is dangerous to make open criticism of the king in Swaziland, so it is no surprise that the writer signs himself (herself?): ‘A broken heart, Pigg’s Peak’.
The letter writer concludes, ‘It is again high time the king declares the government to the people not for himself and his family.
‘God created this world for us all and Swaziland is for us all. It can be for a certain clan if we are only threatened.
‘Your Majesty it is wisdom to apologise to our people and just for once to show them that you are also human, only God is perfect. In one of your birthday celebrations you asked for a gift of peace but all of a sudden you are ready for blood. You can change your decision and stage a government which is going to meet the people’s needs not the ‘Makhundu’ government we are all eagerly waiting to see whom it will first kill.’
To read the full letter click here.
P.S. Readers may like to know that the Times has reinstated its ‘comments’ facility on its website so that people may react to the reports.