Swaziland’s Prime Minister twisted and turned and refused to answer when he was questioned by editors about the antics of Lutfo Dlamini, the Swazi Minster of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.
Lutfo returned to work after many weeks absence after it was revealed internationally (but not by the media in Swaziland) that he had been sacked for his part in a corruption scandal involving millions of dollars that was sent from the Kuwaiti Royal Family to King Mswati III.
The money never arrived.
But, after ructions within the Swazi Royal Family – the king wanted them out, but other factions including the Queen Mother wanted Lutfo to be spared – both men returned to work.
Barnabas Dlamini claimed to the editors at a regular meeting on Friday (1 April 2011) that Lutfo had been on sick leave and that Phesheya had been on three months holiday (nice work if you can get it!).
But, Barnabas Dlamini refused to be questioned on the matter by the editors.
The Swaziland Cabinet ‘is anchored on certain pillars, one of which is secrecy’, the Weekend Observer, a newspaper in effect owned by King Mswati, reported him saying.
So what’s so secret about a cabinet minister on lengthy sick leave and an ambassador on a long holiday?
The newspaper knows the answer to that as do readers of this blog, but the people of Swaziland will not be told through their local media.
Prime Minister Dlamini summed it up nicely, ‘There are secret matters no matter how transparent one may become. But I can assure the nation that nothing went amiss there. There are, however, some things you can’t discuss publicly.’
Yes, that just about sums up the kingdom ruled by King Mswati, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch: there are things you can’t discuss publicly in Swaziland.
Which is why we're all on the Internet.