King Mswati III of Swaziland has became a doctor. Or so he’d like us to believe.
Yesterday (2 August 2010), the king, who is sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, was given the title by Taipei Medical University, Taiwan, for (hang on to your hats now) ‘outstanding leadership and profound contribution in the promotion of health and wellbeing’.
The Swazi Observer, the newspaper in effect owned by King Mswati, thought this was so important it devoted the front page to the story.
The Observer went on to say that the doctorate comes a few days after Ma Ying-jeou (who, the Observer doesn’t say, survived a lengthy corruption trial to emerge as winner of the presidential elections in Taiwan) described 'His Majesty as a visionary leader, who went to all lengths for the improvement of the lives of his people’.
The report was written by Musa Ndlangamandla, editor-in-chief of the Observer, who is on record as saying it is the duty of his newspaper to stress the integrity of the king, called the award of the doctorate a ‘historical recognition’.
Without a hint of irony Ndlangamandla says, ‘the University leadership is also impressed with His Majesty’s role in the promotion of peace’. Tell that to the progressives in Swaziland who are being terrorised by the king’s police.
No one, apart from the king’s hangers-on is fooled of course. Just as we weren’t fooled when Barnabas Dlamini, the man the king illegally-appointed as Prime Minister of Swaziland, was given a bogus doctorate by the University of Swaziland (Chancellor: King Mswati).
Ever since that happened the Swazi Observer has dutifully referred to the Prime Minister as Doctor Dlamini. What on earth will they call the king from now on?
Wouldn’t ‘Doctor King’ be too precious?