The Times of Swaziland censored itself when it reported today (12 September 2011) on a US Embassy cable that said King Mswati III is ‘advised by dishonest and uneducated people’.
The newspaper, the only independent daily in the kingdom, was reporting on a cable sent by Earl Irvine, US Ambassador to Swaziland, in December 2009 and recently leaked by whistleblowing website, Wikileaks.
The cable reports Irvine saying he was told by Prince David, a half brother of King Mswati, who is also a former Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, that because of the dishonest and uneducated people around him the king received bad advice.
But what the Times didn’t report was the criticism Prince David made about King Mswati, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, himself.
Prince David in effect called the king a liar and said that the international community shouldn’t trust him.
The cable from Irvine says, ‘Prince David emphasized that what the King says to foreign leaders cannot be relied upon, because he always deflects and temporizes to bring pressure off himself.’
It seems the Times felt able to report on the criticism of the king’s advisors, but it did not want to tell its readers about the criticism of the king himself.
The Times also failed to report on other cables from the US Embassy and also published by Wikileaks. One quotes Irvine saying King Mswati was ‘not intellectually well developed’ and ‘not a reader’ and was ‘imbalanced’.
The Times also did not report on a separate cable, also written by Irvine, that said the king relied on advice from his wives and that he believes in muti (traditional medicine used to cast spells or curses) and witchcraft.
To read the full ‘Prince David’ Wikileaks cable, click here.
US SAYS SWAZI KING ‘IMBALANCED’
US FRANK ASSESSMENT OF SWAZI KING