Lutfo Dlamini, Swaziland’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, has distanced himself from his senior civil servant who spoke out against Col Muammar Gadaffi of Libya, one of King Mswati’s close allies.
And, Clifford Mamba, Principal Secretary at the Ministry, who is at the centre of the storm, is keeping his head down and refusing to speak to the media.
Meanwhile, the Swazi Government is in no hurry to come to Mamba’s aid. Government mouthpiece Macanjana Motsa and her assistant Sabelo Dlamini told inquiring reporters to talk to Mamba.
Lutfo Dlamini ‘repeatedly’ refused to comment on Mamba’s position when contacted by the Times of Swaziland, the kingdom’s only independent daily newspaper.’
According to the newspaper, Dlamini said ‘they were going to investigate the authenticity of the leaked document’, but told the newspaper it should speak only with Mamba.
But, Mamba repeatedly refused to answer his phone or respond to a text message, the Times reported.
The row hit Swaziland last Friday (31 December 2010) after I reported that Wikileaks had published a secret cable sent by Maurice Parker, the then US Ambassador to Swaziland. Parker reported that Mamba had criticised Gaddafi’s time as Chair of the African Union (AU). Mamba reportedly said Gaddafi had ‘put the AU secretariat into chaos, by-passing all protocol and the institutional framework’ during his time in charge. Gaddafi was Chair of the AU for one year until January 2010.
King Mswati has been an ally of Libya for some years and has been trying to get business and development aid for Swaziland. At least one of King Mswati’s sons, Prince Sicalo, is undergoing military training in Libya. Barnabas Dlamini, Swaziland’s illegally-appointed Prime Minister, visited the prince while he was in Libya in October 2010.
In 2009, Col Gadaffi sent the king six camels as a token of his friendship.