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Friday, 10 September 2010


Barnabas Dlamini, Swaziland’s illegally-appointed Prime Minister can no longer command the respect of the international community.

His latest pronouncement is that dissidents and foreigners who speak out against the regime in Swaziland, ruled by King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, should be whipped on the soles of their feet.

Dlamini was reacting to the Global Day of Action for Swaziland democracy which saw protest marches in Mbabane and Manzini. Although police and security forces harassed and intimidated the pro-democracy campaigners the message got out to the world loud and clear: Swaziland has abandoned any pretence that it is a democracy and respecter of human rights.

Dlamini’s call for torture is the best that he can do in response to calls for freedom. While the world wants statesmanship, he responds like a herd boy - the only way he can get people to do what he wants is to whip them. He has shown himself to be incapable of discussion and dialogue and now it is clear there is no point in trying to engage with him. The international community will see that Swaziland’s prime minister is no more than a thug who lacks the intellectual capacity to take Swaziland forward. King Mswati keeps saying he wants his kingdom to become part of the ‘first world’. That is an impossible task with Dlamini as head of government.

Already Dlamini, who has a well documented history as an enemy of freedom, has been condemned for his latest disregard for the rule of law.

The Swaziland Solidarity Network (SSN) said Dlamini has a mandate from King Mswati ‘to strangle all opposition from within or outside the country’.

SSN said in a statement, ‘It takes an extremely sadistic person to suggest such a painful form of torture for innocent human beings who happen to side with their fellow human beings on the other side of the fence.’

Dlamini’s call for torture has had the opposite effect to the one he presumably intended. Instead of frightening off democracy activists, he has strengthened their resolve.

The Swaziland Youth Congress (SWAYOCO), a banned entity in the kingdom, said in a statement, ‘no amount of harassment, torture and killing will stop us and the international community from calling for democracy and sustainable peace in Swaziland’.

SWAYOCO went on to say its members had in the past ‘been tortured, maimed and murdered by his corrupt government.

‘These threats are therefore nothing else but a reaffirmation of his government’s stand in dealing with the democratic forces in the country.’

SWAYOCO went on, ‘while he can have his way in torturing and murdering innocent Swazis, the same cannot be done to our international friends, particularly those from South Africa’.

SWAYOCO has asked the South African government to ‘denounce the statements of the Prime Minister’ because they are a direct threat to South African citizens.

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