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Monday, 17 January 2011

AMBASSADOR HARDLY EVER AT WORK

Swazi people are entitled to ask why Phesheya Dlamini, the kingdom’s (now ex) Ambassador to Kuwait, has been staying in a hotel in Swaziland for the past three months.


It seems to confirm a report I made on 3 January 2010 that many of Swaziland’s embassies abroad are not really needed. In that report it was claimed that the embassy in Kuwait was only opened for Princess Temaswati to study in that country.


If the Kuwait Embassy can run for such a long time without the Ambassador, it can’t be very busy.


The Swazi News, an independent newspaper in Swaziland, revealed that Phesheya Dlamini was staying at the top-class Ezulwini Sun, in one of the kingdom’s main tourist spots. According to the newspaper, he’s in ‘a vacation suite that consists of two bedrooms, a lounge, kitchen and a bathroom’ and has run up a bill close to E100,000 (about US$10,000) - but he is getting a discount.


‘One of the bedrooms has a queen-sized bed while the other has two double beds. This is one of the biggest rooms provided to our guests and it is currently occupied by the ambassador,’ an unnamed source told the newspaper.


The Ambassador has not told the hotel when he intends to leave, according to the Swazi News, but Phesheya Dlamini may be out on the streets sooner than he thinks, if the hotel room is being paid for by the Swaziland taxpayer.


Last Thursday (13 January 2011) Phesheya Dlamini was sacked from his job as Ambassador at the same time that Lutfo Dlamini was dismissed as Swaziland’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation. Both are implicated in a corruption scandal centred on missing money sent by the Kuwaiti Royal Family to King Mswati III of Swaziland, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch.


I am pleased that the Swazi News made this situation public, but it, and the other media in Swaziland, mustn’t use Phesheya Dlamini’s unusual living arrangements as a smokescreen. None of the media in Swaziland have yet reported the dismissal of the Dlamini twins, nor that they are involved in a corruption scandal. That is the real story – the hotel stay is merely a diversion.

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