The Swazi traditionalists have been quick to put the boot in following reports that the Imbokodvo National Movement political party was to reform.
As is becomes clear that King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, can no longer be sure who his friends are, Sam Mkhombe, his Private Secretary and Mathendele Dlamini, a member of the King’s shady advisory council, Liqoqo,were hauled before a kangaroo court at Lozitha Royal Palace yesterday (11 January 2011) on suspicion that they were leaders in what traditionalists believe is a plot against the King.
The Board of Royal Trustees suspended both men from their jobs on full pay indefinitely. Dlamini has only been suspended as a member of Liqoqo and his duties on the committee and not from other responsibilities, such as his work with the African Union, according to the Swazi Observer, a newspaper in effect owned and edited by King Mswati.
The move came after a news report that meetings had been held to discuss the possibility of reforming the Imbokodvo National Movement. The party - a front for the Swazi Royal Family - was banned, along with all other political parties in 1973. All parties remain banned in Swaziland.
The swift move to act against the so-called plotters reveals how nervous the King of Swaziland is. Imbokodvo was not a party of the people. It was set up by King Sobhuza II and Liqoqo and wanted to keep power and wealth (including valuable mineral rights) in the hands of the King.
There is no suggestion that the reformed Imbokodvo would be anything but a slavish supporter of the present King.
However, King Mswati is under intense pressure at the moment and can no longer be sure who his loyal supporters are. Yesterday, I reported that Lutfo Dlamini, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, assumed to be among the most loyal of the King’s supporters, was involved in a corruption scam that may have netted him and his co-conspirators US$ 1 million that was intended for the King.
In August 2010, another of the King’s supposed friends and allies, Ndumiso Mamba, the then Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, was discovered in an adulterous relationship with one of the King’s wives.
The King is now watching his back and jumping at shadows. We haven’t heard the last of this.