Lutfo Dlamini, the Swaziland Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, has denied that three Danish men were beaten up by Swazi police and claims their story only received attention because they are white.
Last Monday (6 September 2010), police raided a meeting to plan for a protest march for democracy in Swaziland and detained activists, with a number of foreigners, including three Danish nationals.
Later Peter Kenworthy of Africa Contact, Denmark, gave details of his ill treatment at the hands of the police. He said he was detained by Swazi police, assaulted and told he would ‘never return to your country. You will die here’.
Now Dlamini, who was not present when the assaults took place, claims Kenworthy made up the claims for ‘cheap propaganda.’
Instead of tackling the main issue that the Swazi police force is out of control and has no respect for the rule of law, Dlamini is trying to deflect attention away from the central issue.
Speaking to the Swazi News, an independent newspaper in Swaziland, Dlamini said the Danish nationals ‘were out to discredit the image of the country in pursuit of making the country look bad in the eyes of the international community’.
‘Why are you interested in their issue? Is it because they are white?’
It then emerged that Dlamini hadn’t even read the details of the complaints, but he none-the-less felt qualified to dismiss them out of hand.
He is talking through his hat. The world’s attention has been on Swaziland for some time now. Massive human rights and civil liberties violations are being reported in the global media and pro-democracy groups have condemned Swaziland, which is ruled with an iron fist by King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch.
None of the reports or the advocacy groups has made any concession to victims who are white. You only need to look at the worldwide outrage over the death in custody of Sipho Jele to know that the democrats do not discriminate on the colour of a person’s skin.
The fact is that Dlamini has no connection with the truth. As I pointed out last month (August 2010), he is incapable of telling the truth when it comes to the true situation in Swaziland.