In his attempt to seem like a world statesman, King Mswati III of Swaziland has exposed himself as a hypocrite.
King Mswati told a COMESA (Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa) Heads of State and Government Summit that to avoid the possibility of encouraging coups, leaders should encourage dialogue to ensure peace and stability.
The Swazi Observer, a newspaper in effect owned by King Mswati, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, quoted him saying, ‘As a peace loving nation, the Kingdom of eSwatini [Swaziland] believes in dialogue as an important tool for addressing national and international issues.’
And that’s where he exposed himself as a hypocrite. Anyone who has been paying attention knows that at present Swaziland is in danger of tearing itself apart because the king and the security forces he controls have unleashed terror on progressives who are trying to argue for multiparty democracy.
And only in July this year (2010) King Mswati categorically ruled out dialogue with those who want to change the system in Swaziland.
He told the so-called Smart Partnership that the question of reviewing the political structures in Swaziland was a closed book that would not be opened.
So there you have it. King Mswati says one thing when he stands in front of an international audience, but does the complete opposite when it comes to ensuring his own rule at home goes unchallenged.
He also showed his hypocrisy when he told the same meeting it should denounce and condemn all people who illegally usurp political power through coup de tats and violence, saying they are enemies of peace.
Of course not all coups are violent, as King Mswati’s father King Sobhuza II demonstrated, when in 1973 after free elections led to a result he did not like, he abandoned the constitution and ruled by Royal Decree. Much of the power Sobhuza stole from the people remains in the hands of the Swazi monarchy today.
King Mswati got one thing right in his speech. He said that coups affected the lives of innocent people, hinder and provision of social services because resources were channelled towards financing the coups and their leaders instead of development.
He couldn’t have described the situation in Swaziland better if he tried.