To nobody’s great surprise Mathendele Dlamini, a member of King Mswati III’s advisory council Liqoqo, and Sam Mkhombe, the King’s Private Secretary, have been fired for their part in trying to re-form the Imbokodvo National Movement (INM).
The pair were called to Lozitha yesterday (27 January 2011) and given the boot. They had previously been suspended on the instructions of the King, pending an investigation.
The two men were said to have been trying to revive the defunct IMN, a party created by King Mswati’s father, King Sobhuza II, as a front for the Royal Family’s interests. King Sobhuza banned all political parties in 1973 and they have remained banned ever since.
The King’s supporters are saying that the pair were sacked because they used the name of the King in their attempts to get people to join the INM. Dlamini and Mkhombe reportedly said they had the King’s permission to reform the party.
The Swaziland Solidarity Network (SSN) in a statement said Dlamini and Mkhombe had tried to revive the INM, which it described as a ‘royal instrument of constitutional subversion’.
SSN said, ‘After having met with very influential members of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) the two were privy to the fact that Swaziland could no longer be taken seriously under the prevailing political system. The pressure to unban political parties has mounted to inescapable levels. As a result they sought to respond to this by being proactive and laying the groundwork for their king to have something to fall on when political parties are finally unbanned.
‘It was also out of personal ambitions for power because this program was not first discussed with the man in charge. Yet again, given his [the King’s] state of mind lately who can blame them for that?’
SSN said the two men were later stabbed in the back and reported to King Mswati. SSN said, ‘... King Mswati saw nothing but a ploy to remove him from power in this plan. As a result he suspended them pending investigations and then eventually fired them.’
Meanwhile, Vincent Ncongwane, Secretary-General of the Swaziland Federation of Labour, said the firing of Dlamini and Mkhombe was meant to scare people off forming political parties.
He told the Times of Swaziland, the only independent daily newspaper in the kingdom, there were civil servants who belong to political parties who would now fear coming out to the open.
He said, ‘It means we are still far from political parties. Why is a person fired for talking about reviving a political party if that is the real reason they have been fired? The Attorney General said political parties had not been banned, so why fire these people for talking about the revival of Imbokodvo?’
He told the Times people should however have no fear. ‘It will be foolhardy to think that the 2013 elections will be held under the current system of governance. People will demand political parties,’ he said.