Sunday Tribune, South Africa
15 May 2011
He called King Mswati a ‘stubborn lunatic’ who ‘sucked up’ to the British.
He called on South Africa to put pressure on King Mswati to introduce democratic reforms and to impose sanctions on the Swazi Royal Family. Zuma accused King Mswati of stealing from his own people to attend the recent British Royal Wedding.
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Young Zuma’s fury at ‘stubborn lunatic’
One of the president’s sons has declared King Mswati an enemy and believes South Africa can pay more than lip service to the Swaziland situation. Amanda Khoza reports
EDWARD Zuma, 34, the eldest son of President Jacob Zuma, has chastised Swaziland’s King Mswati III, describing him as a “stubborn lunatic” who stole from his people and who “sucked up” to the British. He also said Mugabe was better than Mswati.
Zuma said he was aware that people would wonder why the president’s son was speaking about the issue. “I was born there. I understand where they are coming from and it has nothing to do with being the president’s son. My father knows my views. I told him as a father, not as the president. “He knows my stance and can’t change me or how I feel.”
The young Zuma said he had been born in Manzini, Swaziland, but had shunned the country because “it didn’t deserve a cent of my tax”. Zuma, a former member of the Swaziland Solidarity Network, said he had told his father how much he detested Mswati. “I hate him so much that when he came for my father’s inauguration, people stood up to show respect but I didn’t. That’s how little I respect him.”
Zuma said change happened when people began to talk about issues. “They will cut your mouth in Swaziland when you talk about issues. I am not scared of Mswati. Given the same forum to speak to him, I will bring up the very same issues with him... I challenge him to engage in dialogue,” said a fuming Zuma.
Zuma questioned why the South African government was not putting pressure on Mswati’s regime to adhere to democratic change. “We have spearheaded democratic change all over Africa and yet our neighbour is the one in need of democratic change. People complain about Mugabe and yet he has a more legitimate country because there is a democratic process. Mugabe is far better than Mswati,” said Zuma.
Zuma said although he loved Swaziland, Mswati’s actions made him feel embarrassed to have been born there. “Mswati is a lunatic who should rather join the social scenes,” he said. Although Zuma comes from a polygamous family, he criticised the lavish lifestyle of the king and his 13 wives and 23 children.
“I believe South Africa need to sanction Mswati and his many wives because what do they do besides shopping in Sandton City?”
He lambasted the manner in which Mswati handled the HIV/AIDS crisis in 2000, when he reportedly announced in a parliamentary debate that all HIV positive people should be “sterilized and branded”.
Zuma’s comments come amid an accelerated push by the Swaziland Solidarity Network (SSN) to have the regime changed.
Zuma said Mswati’s invitation to the recent British wedding showed he was “sucking up” to the English.
“Who is Mswati trying to impress? He stole from his own people because he used their tax to go the wedding”, he said.
Referring to recent protests in which unions called for Mswati to step down, Zuma asked South Africans what they had against Mugabe when Mswati has “illegitimately” appointed ministers. Zuma labelled Mswati’s government a “family committee”. It did not deserve to be called a government, he said, because it didn’t come from any democratic process.
“If you are not a Dlamini in Swaziland, you are a nobody”, said Zuma.
An emotional Zuma said what Mswati was doing was painful, personal and made him very angry – and had prompted him to speak out. “I have suppressed this anger for many years and this is the first time I am publicly speaking about it in detail”, he said.
Zuma also said there were deeper problems hidden by Mswati and his dynasty.
The office of the presidency’s spokesman, Zizi Kodwa, said the president’s son had the right to voice his personal opinion without any comment from his father in his capacity as head of state.
COSATU’s Zwelinzima Vavi welcomed Zuma Jr’s comments, saying the Labour Federation and its affiliates had long been calling for reforms in Swaziland.
“We have been one of the few who have been demanding freedom from blockages and arrests. Our people have been arrested; we can only welcome Zuma’s stance”, said Vavi.
Lucky Lukhele, of the SSN, backed Zuma up when he called Mswati to “stay out of politics”.
Lukhele said as of the end of this month, Mswati “won’t be able to pay his civil servants”.
Lukhele called upon the Swazi people to stand together and called for the intervention of the Southern African Development Community and the African Union.
Political analyst Sylvester Maphosa said South Africa had great leverage to influence the political dynamics in Swaziland.
“it is important for King Mswati to begin to appreciate that times have changed and it is crucial in his epoch to begin to incorporate values and principles of democratic dispensation into traditional values of governance”, said Maphosa.
This report did not appear online. This version is from the printed version of the newspaper