Protests have started following news that Barnabas Dlamini, Swaziland’s Prime Minister who called on dissidents to be tortured, is to get an award for ‘exemplary contributions to peace and human rights’.
Dlamini, who was illegally appointed Prime Minister of Swaziland, which is ruled by King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, is to receive the World Citizen Award this weekend (2 October 2010).
Danish Organisation Africa Contact has sent this letter to the international headquarters of the World Citizen Awards in the Bahamas.
‘Dear Sir or Madam,
‘We at Africa Contact were so surprised to read today that the World Citizen Award was to be given to Swazi Prime Minister Barnabas Dlamini for his “exemplary contributions to peace and human rights” that we first thought it a joke.
‘As this is apparently not the case, we would like to urge you to reconsider. Swaziland in general, and Prime Minister Barnabas Dlamini in particular, have a dismal record on Human Rights and political freedom as documented by organisations such as Amnesty International and Freedom House.
‘Democracy advocates in Swaziland have been tortured for holding peaceful demonstrations and demanding a democracy that you and I take for granted, and Prime Minister Barnabas Dlamini has not only encouraged this, but has even recently said that his government would consider using “Sipakatane”, a form of torture used by the Portuguese colonial regime in Mozambique, to punish “dissidents” and foreigners who come into the country to “disturb the peace.”
‘It should therefore be blatantly obvious that Prime Minister Barnabas Dlamini does not deserve to receive your prize.
‘We will contact former recipients of the prize to hear of their opinion of this years recipient of the World Citizen Awards.’