This is Musa Hlophe, coordinator of the Swaziland Coalition of Concerned Civic Organisations (SCCCO), writing in the Times Sunday, an independent newspaper in Swaziland.
Monday [12 April 2010] saw the 37th anniversary of the declaration of the infamous 1973 decree by King Sobhuza II.
It marked the sad day that he and his advisers panicked in the face of the reality that they were not universally loved or feared.
What was the cause of this panic?
Widespread uprisings on the streets?
A well-supported Marxist revolution?
A band of mercenaries, armed to the teeth, threatening our coal and diamond reserves?
Nope, not really. What had happened, as all students of history will know, was that at least one Swazi in eight had the audacity to use a democratic right and elected three members of the Ngwane National Liberatory Congress to the second Swazi Parliament.
This meant the King’s Imbokodvo Party had its 100 per cent majority slashed to only 87.5 per cent.
There was nothing this opposition party could do to stop laws being passed. All it could do was to voice concern, show alternatives and respectfully but futilely, express dissent.
It seems that even the futile expression of a difference of opinion was enough to shut down completely the country’s democratic institutions. One source writing this week claimed that the 1973 decree came about because the country was becoming difficult to govern.
I think that was a deliberate error.
What the country was becoming was difficult to rule.
To read the full article, click here.