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Wednesday, 4 August 2010

LIES, DAMN LIES, AND LUTFO DLAMINI

Propagandists in Swaziland believe that if you tell a lie often enough people will think you are telling the truth.


That can be the only explanation for the report in the Swazi Observer today (4 August 2010) headed ‘King Leads by Consensus, Consultation – Lutfo’.


Lutfo Dlamini, the Swaziland Minister of Foreign Affairs, said King Mswati III, who happens to be sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, put the interests of the people first.


‘He is a leader of peace, passion and vision whose example shines throughout the world,’ Dlamini said.


Dlamini was speaking in Taiwan where King Mswati received an honorary doctorate from the Taipei Medical University.


Dlamini denied the king was an absolute monarch and according to the Observer, a newspaper in effect owned by King Mswati, said ‘all major decisions and future direction of the country were taken in consultation with the people’.


I won’t go on with any more of the lies Dlamini told. Dlamini is a well known brown-noser to the king and readers with long memories will know that he believes the king is ordained by God.


Meanwhile, in the real world every international organisation that monitors human rights in Swaziland has condemned King Mswati and his hangers-on for their oppression of the Swazi people.


As recently as June 2010 Freedom House reported, ‘Swaziland is not an electoral democracy. King Mswati III is an absolute monarch with ultimate authority over the cabinet, legislature, and judiciary.’


It went on, ‘Political parties are banned, but there are political associations, the two largest being PUDEMO and the Ngwane National Liberatory Congress (NNLC), although PUDEMO was declared a terrorist organization in 2008. It and other prodemocracy groups boycotted the November 2008 House of Assembly elections.’


Freedom House goes on, ‘The king can suspend constitutional rights to free expression at his discretion, and these rights are severely restricted in practice, especially with respect to speech on political issues or the royal family. Publishing criticism of the monarchy is banned, and self-censorship is widespread, as journalists are routinely subject to threats and attacks by the authorities. The attorney general and other officials have threatened journalists with arrest under the Suppression of Terrorism Act since its passage in 2008.’


And concludes ‘The government has restricted freedoms of assembly and association, and permission to hold political gatherings has often been denied. Pro-democracy protesters are routinely dispersed and arrested by police.’

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