This week his government announced that he had been awarded a medal for his contribution to human rights by the World Citizen Awards (WCA).
In a statement the Swazi Government said the medal was being given to the prime minister ‘as a person who has accomplished and made numerous contributions to mankind’. He was also described as a ‘highly respected global figure, whose role in history has been significant.’
This award, the statement went on, ‘is also in recognition of his pre-eminent role in the shaping of the global community and continued influence on the world stage’.
Pretty flattering stuff, but piffle of course. We all know that Dlamini has made no such contribution to ‘mankind’. Indeed, he has done the opposite and it is well documented that he is an enemy of freedom and human rights.
Only this month (September 2010) he called for the use of ‘sipakatane’ (otherwise known as ‘bastinado’, a form of torture that involves flogging the bare soles of a person’s feet) on people who campaigned against his government.
Dlamini, who allows himself to be titled ‘doctor’, although he only has an honorary doctorate from the University of Swaziland, seems to have fallen hook, line and sinker for it.
Since the announcement last weekend numerous people tried to contact WCA to register a protest at the award, but found the email contact it gave on its website did not work.
Attempts to find information about the three ‘prominent’ figures listed on the WCA website as the organisation’s leaders also proved fruitless. None of them appeared anywhere on the Internet, except in reference to their role at WCA.
There could be a pretty innocent explanation for this, but I can’t think of one.
Alarm bells were rung by Africa Contact, Denmark, when it sent emails of protest to people listed as members of the board of WCA and received a reply from one of them stating, ‘I regret to say that you and I - among others - have been victims of a hoax.’
This led Africa Contact to conclude, ‘The hoax is that the award is not given by the alleged board members of the World Citizen Award, but that the recipients of the awards are in effect paying to receive a bogus award.’
Participants and the organisations they represent are invited to a lavish three day bash in the Bahamas, which I suppose is paid for by the participants. There is also a ‘commemorative booklet’ published to mark the event.
The suggestion that Dlamini may be the victim of a hoax prompted Morten Nielsen from Africa Contact to say, ‘It is unbelievable that the Swazi government would fall for such a hoax as they must be well aware of their appalling human rights record. According to the widely recognized Mo Ibrahim Index, that rates countries according to indicators such as human rights records and governance, Swaziland ranks a dismal 45th out of 53 African countries in the category of participation and human rights. Incidentally, this is just above Zimbabwe’.
The Swazi Government has yet to respond to the claim it may have been hoaxed.