Would the Swaziland Government please come clean about Lutfo Dlamini.
Lutfo, the (now ex) Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, was sacked from Cabinet last month (January 2011) after his involvement in a corruption scandal involving money destined for King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, was uncovered.
But no government announcement of this has been made. Instead, we were officially told that Lutfo was off work sick until 31 January 2011.
That date has come and gone and he doesn’t appear to be back at work. The Swazi Observer, the newspaper in effect owned by King Mswati, reported today (9 February 2011), ‘Despite showing up in Parliament on Friday, Minister Dlamini had not reported for duty by Monday.’
Lutfo is cutting a forlorn figure around the Swaziland corridors of power. On Friday he attended the opening of parliament, but did not sit in the front row with cabinet members, ‘even though there were still seats available’, as the Swazi News, an independent newspaper, put it.
The paper reported that Lutfo ‘did not stay for the luncheon and left as soon as the ceremony was over at around 1:30pm.
‘He also did not go into the chambers were diplomats get a chance to greet His Majesty King Mswati III.’
Yesterday, Lutfo ‘mingled around’ with cabinet ministers before the regular weekly cabinet meeting.
According to the Swazi Observer, ‘it could not be ascertained’ whether he actually attended the meeting.
‘Some members of cabinet confirmed that Dlamini was there but refused to comment further,’ the newspaper reported.
But why the reluctance to ‘comment further?’
The Swazi Government’s official spokesperson was no help either. Macanjana Motsa told the Observer, ‘I am also not in a position to state whether the minister of foreign affairs was in cabinet or not. The Prime Minister is the one who can release that information, I have been trying to get hold of him and I am failing.’
Meanwhile, the Swaziland Solidarity Network (SSN) yesterday released a further statement about Lutfo’s involvement in the scandal, which also involves Phesheya Dlamini, the Swaziland Ambassador to Kuwait. Click here.