On the 17th March 2020, King Mswati III, through the Prime Minister, declared a national emergency in response to the global Covid-19 Coronavirus pandemic - as the nation started seeing a few positive cases. The declaration of emergency was a good first step in preparing for the establishment of a national taskforce to combat the deadly pandemic. Nation states around the world implemented containtment measures, testing regimes and contact tracing and also set up daily briefings to give their nations valuable updates on what they needed to know about the pandemic and national healthcare policy.
Alas, in eSwatini King Mswati III has been conspicuous by his glaring absence! At a time when a fearful nation looks up to its leader for reassurance and guidance, King Mswati III is nowhere to be seen. Such leadership has been franchised to the Prime Minister Mandvulo Dlamini and the Minister of health Lizzie Nkosi.
With reports that the king had contracted Covid-19 and is in serious condition at Manzana Royal Hospital, it is up to the eSwatini government to set the record straight and provide transparency. Other leaders have contracted the Covid-19 virus. Their nations were informed and kept updated on the health of their leaders. ESwatini, in typical form preferred muddying the waters. Enter the acting government spokesperson Sabelo Dlamini with his press release on the 13th April 2020, refuting the notion of King Mswati's apparent hospitalisation and bristling at what he described as "fake news". Dlamini informed the nation that the king is "well and in good health". What the government spokesperson failed to do was tell the nation WHERE is the king and WHY is he not out there providing public reassurance to his nation in this challenging time.
King Mswati's continued public absence will not quell the rumours around his health. Or the indication that if he really is "well and in good health" as the acting government spokesperson would have us believe , then King Mswati has once again failed the leadership test. Mswati's record on leadership has been pathetic at the best of times. His continued absence right now confirms that record in more jarring terms. Or perhaps the "lion" really is nothing more than a scaredy-cat who bottles it when faced with national challenges that require actual, measurable solutions rather than the usual platitudes, hubris and talking shop. King Mswati - in the face of an enemy he cannot crush by live ammunition, rubber bullets or water canon, bottles it and retreats into his luxury man-cave. Either that or he really is seriously ill in hospital. Only time will tell. Meanwhile the nation continues to demand: WHERE is King Mswati?
As the Covid-19 pandemic takes hold, King Mswati III is missing!
"The absence of King Mswati III demonstrates a collapse of leadership or a serious cover-up by the eSwatini government."
By Goodwill Mathonsi
Where is King Mswati?
eSwatini/Swaziland Government Press Secretary Percy "Mbakadza" Simelane.
Percy Simelane is a snake oil salesman peddling falsehoods in desperate defence of King Mswati's dictatorship!
By Goodwill Mathonsi
The Peter Principle posits that an employee in an organization can rise through the hierarchy until they reach the levels of their respective incompetence. This principle can be used to better explain the eSwatini/Swaziland Press Secretary Percy Simelane – man with an instinctive flair for failing upwards! Plucked from relative prominence as a radio DJ and voice actor at Swaziland Broadcasting and Information Service where he earned the unflattering nickname Mbakadza. Later promoted to station director before his appointment as Government Press Secretary then making a boomerang move back at SBIS before returning as Press Secretary. Evidently this promotion thrust him into a position beyond his competence, taking over from the rumbustious Meshack Shongwe (now late). The bar was already ground-scraping low! Read more here.
The Swazi Observer promotes homophobia!
King Mswati defrauds nation of millions of dollars!
Story by Zweli Martin Dlamini
The Swazi Observer - a newspaper publication effectively owned by the state, in an article published on Thursday 21st June 2018 misled the nation by peddling inaccurate and homophobic sentiments. The article in question was titled
NATION FROWNS UPON GAY PRIDE PARADE. The article quotes an anonymous letter purported to have been written to the organizers of the first Gay pride parade - Rock of Hope, scheduled for the 30th June 30 2018.
First, the headline is wholly misleading in that it falsely claims that the Swati nation made the anti-gay pride sentiments contained in the article when in fact it is a few disgruntled individuals. How a few individuals represent the nation is beyond belief.
Secondly the spirit and text of the article is homophobic and divisive and goes against the basics of journalistic ethics of accuracy and fair reporting. The article makes a false equivalence between the gay and lesbian community and paedophilia, bestiality and rape.
The falsehoods raised in this article are not only homophobic but also indicative of a particularly desperate and divisive anti-gay and lesbian agenda by the Swazi Observer. Instead of fair and accurate reporting while maintaining journalistic ethics, the Swazi Observe resorts to dog-whistling smears against not just Rock of Hope but the entire eSwatini gay and lesbian community. Worryingly this article is only the latest in a litany of false reporting by this publication. The failures of The Swazi Observer are well documented.
Over the years The Swazi Observer and people within it have allowed themselves to acquire an alarmingly excessive degree of propinquity to the eSwatini government and the Swati royal family, clouding its judgement and straying from its journalistic mandate.
The Swazi Observer owes its readers and the nation an apology for this wilfully misleading and homophobic slur against Rock of Hope and the entire eSwatini gay and lesbian community. We will be pursuing this matter robustly, with the media ombudsman.
Statement by Goodwill Mathonsi - Coordinator
For and on behalf of The Swaziland Human Rights Network UK
22nd June 2018
King Mswati defrauded the Swazi Nation in mineral deals, he allegedly received and transferred millions of US Dollars to foreign bank accounts to sustain his extravagant lifestyle in complete disregard of the Mines and Minerals Act that empowers him to receive the money in Trust for the Swazi Nation”.
This disclosure comes after a vigorous investigation conducted by this Swaziland News publication in the midst of international concerns regarding the lavish lifestyle of the King in a country where about 70% of the population languish in poverty, with the government relying heavily on foreign aid for social obligations. Now evidence has emerged substantiating how King Mswati has been defrauding the impoverished Swazi Nation millions of US Dollars through mineral deals at Maloma Mine, Ngwenya Iron Ore Mine as well as the Dvokolwako Mine where he allegedly colluded with Equatorial Vice President Teodorin Nguema to smuggle diamonds outside the country.
More on this story on Swaziland News.
Swaziland: Elections without democracy
By Peter Kenworthy
Swaziland will hold national elections on September 21. But according to reports that examine the country’s last national elections in 2013 and many Swazis, Swaziland’s political system is undemocratic and only serves to keep its absolute monarch in power.
Organised Certainty, a new study published in July by journalist and former associate professor at the University of Swaziland Richard Rooney, concludes that Swaziland’s last national elections in 2013 were “not democratic” and that “the political system exists to keep the ruling absolute monarchy in power”.
According to Rooney, bribery, corruption and election blunders were widespread in 2013, women were banned from nomination for wearing trousers, Swaziland’s police and state forces clamped down on peaceful political and social dissent, media coverage in the Swazi media failed to report opposition views, and it took the Election and Boundaries Commission over three years to formally release the election results.
More on this article here
Demo at chogm 2018
With Sunit Bagree (ACTSA), Peter Tatchell (Human rights campaigner) and Girlie Magagula (TUCOSWA)
On the 19th April 2018 we held a successful demonstration outside the Commonwealth Secretariat at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) to protest the attendance of The Kingdom of eSwatini's Prime Minister Sibusiso Barnabas Dlamini. This was a joint demonstration with Action for Southern Africa (ACTSA), Trade Union Congress (TUC), Trade Union Congress of Swaziland (TUCOSWA) and the Swazi Vigil UK. Our united message was unequivocal: The Kingdom of eSwatini is in breach of the Commonwealth Charter!
Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell offered his support to our cause.
Prime Minister's E5.5 million house
50/50 Celebrations a waste!
The Swaziland government's plan to spend millions of Emalangeni on the 50th birthday of king Mswati III and the 50th anniversary of the country's independence is a wasteful use of public funds. The country can ill afford such unnecessary lavishness at a time of economic difficulties for the country. Reports that members of the army and the police have been compelled to contribute a portion of their meagre salaries to the fund raising effort towards the 50/50 celebration is nothing short of scandalous.
The Swaziland government has launched an uncharacteristically active fundraising drive for this farce. We have not seen the government engaged in febrile fundraising for hospitals, schools or the elderly. Hospitals are suffering from a dire shortage of life-saving drugs, the government is unable to fund the free primary education scheme, scholarships were cut, elderly grants are inadequate and wages remain below the living wage mark. Why is the government not raising funds and providing funds to mitigate these national problems?
Prime Minister Sibusiso Barnabas Dlamini told bemused MPs in parliament on the 13th March 2018 that he deserved his exorbitant retirement mansion granted by Finance Circular No.2 of 2013. The PM even roped in the name of the king in a bid to persuade MPs that this lavish spend was justified as the king has already allocated him the land on which to build his house.
More on this story here
Release Mhubhe students
King Mswati must enact sexual offences law now!
Release the Mhumbe High School Pupils
It is only in Eswatini where people are violently silenced when they have issues that require
authorities to sort out. This is a very unfortunate situation where human bconsidered to have no right or voice to seek for a fair mitigation of their complaints. All this being courtesy of a governance system that has no regard for human rights let alone human life. According to the report the pupils were arrested merely on grounds of being suspected ringleaders. Regardless they have to be kept in prison as though they were already convicted. The denial of bail by the crown is unconscionable. Which justice is this serving if students who merely sought to have their voices heard are being deprived of their right to education, right to freedom of movement and association as well as their right to freedom of speech?
The custodial remand decision is excessive considering the mitigating circumstances that these are students. They are trying to carve a future for themselves in an education system that is within an already dysfunctional and oppressive government system. Keeping these pupils out of school will destroy their future and incapacitate them. This is a serious violation of human rights.
By Busi Simelane
We hereby call upon King Mswati III to enact into law the long awaited Sexual Offences and Violence Bill (SOVB) most urgently. The safety, protection and dignity of Swazi women and children is a matter of national significance and security. Swazi women and children continue suffering from untold violence and abuse of all forms at the hands of Swazi men: physical, sexual, emotional and financial abuse. The Sexual Offences and Violence Bill will go a long way in offering protection to Swazi women and children and its enactment into law is long overdue. Swazi culture cannot be used as an excuse not to enact this into law while everyday in the media we are confronted by horrific stories of deadly violence and unrestrained abuse against women and children. Clauses 4, 10, 42 and 47 - unlawful stalking, flashing, abduction and incest are protections that cannot be done away with in the new law.
we join all the organizations in the country in calling for the urgent enactment of the Sexual Offences and Violence Bill into law NOW!
Africa Development Forum 2018 - SOAS University of London
Goodwill Mathonsi participated as a panellist at the Africa Development Forum event on 2nd March 2018 at SOAS University of London Russell Square