King Mswati III of Swaziland has ruled out any form of political dialogue with progressives in the kingdom who want democratic change.
The king, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, said the question of reviewing the political structures in Swaziland was a closed book that would not be opened.
King Mswati was speaking at the Smart Partnership this week in a tense meeting with journalists.
Alec Lushaba, editor of the Weekend Observer, a newspaper in effect owned by King Mswati himself, asked King Mswati if he agreed with comments made previously by Prince Masitsela that Swaziland needed to review its current political status if it wanted to meet its stated aim of becoming a ‘first world’ country.
According to a report in the printed version of the Times of Swaziland, the only independent daily newspaper in the kingdom, today (23 July 2010), the question sparked an angry intervention from Prince Mahlaba, a member of Liqoqo, the shady group that advises the king.
Prince Mahlaba denounced Lushaba as ‘not Swazi enough’ to know what he was talking about. Prince Mahlaba claimed that the Swazi people were all behind the present system of government and did not want change.
When Prince Mahlaba allowed the king to answer the question, King Mswati said prospects of reviewing the kingdom’s political system were closed.
The Times reports that Lushaba told the king that political dissenters were also Swazi people and should be called so they could tell the king what their problems were.
King Mswati, who has banned political parties in Swaziland and branded groups who are in opposition to him terrorists, said dissenters would not be entertained.