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Sunday, January 11, 2009

MORE GRIEF FOR SWAZI DISSIDENT

The Swaziland dissident Mfomfo Nkhambule has been hauled before Swazi authorities for the second time in a week because of comments he has made about King Mswati III.


This time, he was summoned by an inner council of Prince Logcogco, the chair of Liqoqo, which is the most powerful advisory committee to the king.


Nkhambule was made to attend at Gundvwini Royal Residence to explain what he was up to.


Nkhambule, a former cabinet minister and present chair of the Inhlava Forum Political Party, writes a weekly column in Swaziland’s only independent daily newspaper the Times of Swaziland. Last Tuesday he was interrogated by the Swazi state police Intelligence Unit and told he faced 20 years in jail if he continued to criticise the king.


The state police told Nkhambule that his writings would incite people to revolt against the king.


This time, according to a report in the Times Sunday today (11 January 2009) Nkhambule was questioned in his capacity as a resident of Gundvwini, paying allegiance to Prince Logcogco, the traditional leader of the area.


The Times Sunday reported that he told his interrogators that the king (the last absolute monarch in sub-Saharan Africa) could govern the kingdom in consultation with the people.


‘They wanted to know about Inhlava, so I told them what this organisation is advocating for. They wanted to know what police were saying to me, and I told them everything,’ Nkhambule told the newspaper.


He said Inhlava was supportive of the monarch but wanted to formulate policies and laws to safeguard it.


‘We don’t want our king to be a laughing stock in the international community and that’s why we want to formulate democratic policies and laws to protect the monarch. We are opposed to violence,’ said Nkambule.


He said he was sure Prince Logcogco was aware of the meeting because it took place at his royal residence. He, however, refused to cite the prince as the initiator of the meeting.


He revealed that John Mngomezulu, the chiefdom’s governor chaired it.


In an interview with the Times Sunday, Prince Logcogco said Nkambule was not summoned to the meeting in his capacity as a leader of Inhlava because the organisation was unknown to him and the elders of Gundvwini. He said he appeared before the inner council in his capacity as a resident of the community.

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