Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Only the budgets for general administration and education receive a larger amount of money from the donor-dependent government, while health gets a 10 percent share. Swaziland has the world's highest HIV/AIDS prevalence, with one in four people aged 15-49 infected with the disease.
2011 has seen unprecedented public protests against the rule of sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, King Mswati III, sparked by an economic crisis that has led to severe cuts in social services, such as education, pensions and support for orphans and vulnerable children.
Military spending as a ratio to GDP ranks it 18th in the world, according to the CIA World Fact Book. An estimated $40.5 million is allocated annually to the Umbutfo Swaziland Defence Force (USDF), excluding supplemental budget requests.
Parliament is forbidden to debate military budgets, and details of specific military spending are cited as a state security matter.
Vincent Dlamini, secretary general of the National Public Servants and Allied Workers Union (NAPSAWU), told IRIN, “The country is not at war and so there is no need to spend 4.7 percent of GDP on the army. Government is complaining about the huge wage bill but is keeping more people in the army.”
Joyce Ndwandwe, a member of the Ngwane National Liberatory Congress, Swaziland’s oldest political party, which is banned, told IRIN: “When I need a soldier for my protection, where is one? They are all at the king’s palaces - they only come out when the workers strike.”
The formation of an army coincided with the banning of political parties in 1973, after Mswati’s father, King Sobhuza, decreed the country’s independence constitution invalid and assumed all executive, legislative and judicial powers for himself and his descendants. Political opposition parties were outlawed, as were public demonstrations.
To read the full IRIN report, click here.
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Each year at the ceremony, dubbed the national prayer by traditionalists in the kingdom, the king, doped up on muti (traditional medicine used to cast spells or curses), sodomises a bull. But to facilitate this, the bull is itself subdued.
An eyewitness to the ceremony, Sithembiso Simelane recounts that one year things didn’t go to plan.
King Mswati is aided by young Swazi men who first beat the bull with their fists and hold it down so the king can mount the beast to insert his manhood into to its rear end.
‘It got out of its coma and all hell broke loose. It pushed him to the side and he started screaming for dear life until we managed to overpower the bull and its throat was cut to ensure it was dead,’ Simelane reports.
Once the king’s sperm is collected in this ceremony, it is poured into a horn ‘so that it can be used whenever the nation has been called to Sibaya or any national event.
‘The sperm is mixed with the food that is cooked for the people on those events or ceremonies so that the people can love the king so much and be very afraid of rising against him.’
Simelane, aged 38, was born at Lwandle, near Manzini, but now lives at Nkhaba in the Hhohho region of Swaziland with his wife and two daughters. He was a member of the Inyatsi regiment for about 10 years and says he saw ‘all the evil that takes place in the royal residencies and more especially at Ludzidzini royal residence (Lobamba)’.
Simelane gives a detailed account of activities at Incwala, considered to be the most sacred of Swazi traditional ceremonies, but it is also the most secretive.
At the official Incwala ceremony the king joins in dancing.
Simelane reports, ‘After the two hours of dance, the media is then chucked out of the royal kraal as some evil activities continue. This is the time for kulahlelwa ngeluselwa. Luselwa is a fruit cut from tintsanga. It is coated with strong muti and is thrown at one of the boys by the king. The boy, after it has been thrown at him, has to run faster than the king back to Inhlambelo lest he gets insane for the rest of his life.
‘Unfortunately, most of the boys fail to run faster than the king because he throws the fruit and runs first. When the boy picks it up and tries to follow, the king is, by that time, already at the entrance and the boys lack the courage to push him aside so that they can be first to enter. At the end these boys literally go insane and are given employment in the army to cover this problem.
‘I must reveal here that these boys to whom the fruit was thrown later usually commit murder, a direct cause of being thrown at with the luselwa. They include even those from the time of the late king Sobhuza II such as […]
‘During the process of kulahlelwa ngeluselwa, these young boys are given small shields with no sticks in them (imigobo). They are always chosen from the Inyatsi regiment kraal (about 20 boys in total) and ordered to dance at the entrance to the small kraal (Inhlambelo) for this session. Senior regiments dance far at a distance, in the middle of Sibaya so they don’t see a thing. The king then comes out of Inhlambelo dressed in some funny attire made up of grass and tree branches and inyoni (head gear) on his head and painted all over his body with black lotions (muti). He dances into a song that says “uyinkhosi yamakhosi” (you are king of kings) as he moves forward into the terrified boys and back carrying the fruit.
‘On that occasion Mswati seems like a mad man and he terrifies the young boys and the Indvuna will shout “do not be afraid of your king, he can’t harm you, he loves you all.” This is known to be a way in which the king cleans himself of all the evils of Incwala with the strong muti and all negative energy which he deposits onto one of the young boys who then loses his mind.’
To read Simelane’s full account of Incwala, click here.
SWAZI KING AND BESTIALITY RITUALhttp://swazimedia.blogspot.com/2011/11/swazi-king-and-bestiality-ritual.html
Monday, November 28, 2011
I have put the full report online here which is available to anyone, with or without a Facebook account.
Swaziland Incwala Ceremony Startling Account of King's Behaviour
But what actually happens during Incwala is clouded in secrecy and many of the rituals have in the past been described by religious leaders in the kingdom as ‘unGodly’ and ‘unChristian’.
Now, an insider’s account of what King Mswati really does during Incwala has been released.
It makes startling claims about King Mswati’s activities. He is said to take ‘muti’ (narcotics), and allows himself to be licked all over his body by a snake while drugged. In one part of the sacred ceremony King Mswati has sexual intercourse with a drugged bull; in another he publicly has sex with two of his wives.
The accounts of goings-on at Incwala are given by Sithembiso Simelane who says his regiment initiation name is Sukulwenkhosi. He is 38 years old, born at Lwandle, near Manzini, and now lives at Nkhaba in the Hhohho region with his wife and two daughters.
He was a member of the Inyatsi regiment for about 10 years and says he ‘got to see all the evil that takes place in the royal residencies and more especially at Ludzidzini royal residence (Lobamba)’.
Simelane writes, ‘I’m telling you this story so as to reveal the reality that people in Swaziland do not know, and to warn Swazis against supporting this Incwala ceremony blindly. Many people have been killed in Swaziland for fear that they were witches or wizards. It is so amazing then because royalty, more especially the monarch, continues to practice witchcraft and at a very high rate.
He goes on, ‘Now that the king has gone into seclusion, he will be stationed at Mantjolo (near Mbabane) where there is a spirit snake, known as LaMlambo, belonging to the Mnisi clan. There, he will have the snake lick him all over the body for many days. As the snake licks him, the belief is that it cleans him of all the troubles he faced this year so that he emerges a new and strong person the next year.’
Simelane says, ‘Then there will be the catching and killing of the bull event. There are two sessions for this one. The first one is held at three in the afternoon a day before Incwala lenkhulu. The king expects the boys to show their strength by killing the bull with bare hands. They quickly jump onto the bull each with the hope of being the first one to grab it so that the king notices them.
‘The secret here is that these young men have the hope that if the king notices their bravery, they will get promotions in their respective jobs, especially if they are in the security forces, or if they are unemployed, they hope to get jobs in the army or the police. So they beat the bull with fists until it is so tired that it cannot do anything. Mswati believes that this action signifies that his people, as they always try by all means to rise against him, will suddenly decide to abandon that action and be confused by his muti.
‘The bull is then taken into the Inhlambelo where Mswati awaits it, naked. The young men hold down the bull tight as the king inserts his erect royal penis into the bull’s anus. He has sex with it until just before he ejaculates.’
Simelane also says that at one point King Mswati ‘moves out to Indlunkhulu where two of his wives, LaMatsebula and LaMotsa, await him naked and he has sex with both of them for a short while but then ejaculates into his horn (hence the saying uchamela enkhomeni nakumuntfu). These two wives, LaMatsebula and laMotsa, only serve this purpose at the royal family. They are known as “Tesulelamsiti’’, which basically means it is where the king cleanses himself and removing all his dirt on. On the two women is where Mswati leaves his demonic evils so that they carry it whilst he remains clean.’
CNN ran this report in its Morning Passport slot this week and it is now uploaded to the Internet. In this item Nadia Bilchik gives the lowdown on the eviction and the affair LaDube had last year with the then Minister of Justice Ndumiso Mamba. A lot of this will be news to the people of Swaziland because media in the kingdom have been banned from reporting about the affair.
Click here to see the CNN report.
‘TIMES SIDES WITH TV AGAINST QUEEN’
KING’S WIFE THROWN OUT OF PALACE
NO FOOD OR BEDDING FOR KING’S WIFE
Friday, November 25, 2011
New book, Unheard Voices: Media Freedom and Censorship in Swaziland by Richard Rooney, FREE – available online here
Unheard Voices, Media Freedom and Censorship in Swaziland - Richard Rooney
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
The SSN and the world’s media reported at the weekend that LaDube, who was in August 2010 discovered to be having an affair with the then Justice Minister Ndumiso Mamba, had been thrown out the palace after she tried to leave to take her child away for medical treatment.
LaDube told South Africa’s Sunday Times of the ordeal she suffered at the palace.
Yesterday (21 November 2011), the Times of Swaziland, the kingdom’s only independent daily newspaper, published an interview with Mtetwa in which he denied she had been thrown out and claimed she had gone to visit her grandmother.
SSN said in a statement, ‘What has since transpired is that LaDube was actually not even taken to her parental home in Zibonele, an area in the Hhohho region. She has literally been dumped in Mshingishingini, an area under the chieftainship of Chief Ngangaza. She has no food and the house she was dumped in has no bedding.’
SSN said LaDube has been under ‘house arrest’ for a year and guards sleep at her home to check on her.
SSN said, ‘The king’s wives are not given the freedom to visit their homesteads. Never in the history of this archaic institution have royal bodyguards slept at a king’s wife’s home. The king’s wives are not even allowed to bury their relatives. If they fall ill they are expected to rehabilitate at the royal residence, not at their own homes. How can the poor outcast then be given unprecedented freedom to visit her parents. T.V. Mtetwa is lying through his false teeth.
‘Since the king is in seclusion, the norm is that such matters are never discussed with the public. T.V. Mtetwa knows this very well, but for the simple reason that his master’s dirty linen is exposed, he decided to go against the age-old custom.’
SSN added, ‘Most importantly, LaDube is no longer considered a king’s wife by the royal family. She is considered as a mere aide who looks after the king’s children. Proof of this is the fact that she was ordered not to attend any royal function since last year.’
‘TIMES SIDES WITH TV AGAINST QUEEN’
KING’S WIFE THROWN OUT OF PALACE
Monday, November 21, 2011
It had been expected that the Times, along with all other media in Swaziland, would censor the news because it was embarrassing to the King.
The report that LaDube had pepper-sprayed a royal guard who refused to let her leave the palace started in South Africa’s Sunday Times yesterday (20 November 2011) and quickly spread around the world.
Today, the Times, the kingdom’s only independent daily newspaper, gave Mtetwa space to deny it ever happened. The Queen, who last year was involved in a love affair with then Minister of Justice Ndumiso Mamba, had not been exiled, she was simply away visiting her grandmother, he said.
Oh, and the Times didn’t say the bit about the love affair because that’s censored information that the Swazi people aren’t allowed to know.
Mtetwa responded to the media reports of LaDube’s expulsion with ‘shock and anger’, the Times reported.
The newspaper reported Mtetwa ‘wondered where the South African media got the story which he described as untrue’. That was a strange thing for it to say because the Sunday Times made it clear it got the story from Queen LaDube herself and quoted her extensively. Mtetwa claimed to have read the South African media reports so why did he ask such a question?
And, if he genuinely didn’t know, why didn’t the Times of Swaziland tell him – and its readers for that matter.
Instead, it allowed Mtetwa, who was implicated in the original media report, to suggest that the South Africans just made the story up off the top of their heads. The Times of Swaziland didn’t interview LaDube for her side of the story.
Mtetwa, the most senior of the traditionalists in the kingdom, ruled by King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, had been accused in the original report of personally ordering LaDube to leave her palace after she pepper-sprayed the guard.
King Mswati was not present at the eviction; he is in seclusion, which may explain why Mtetwa ran to the Times of Swaziland. He wanted to get his retaliation in first, before the King heard about what he had done and dropped a ton of you-know-what on his head from a very great height.
KING’S WIFE THROWN OUT OF PALACE
And, he also makes unproven claims that put the lives of sick people in danger.
Qalakaliboli Dlamini, writing in the Times Sunday yesterday (20 November 2110), claims there is a conspiracy by donor organisations to make it seem that the HIV AIDS situation in Swaziland is worse than it really is so they can continue to get funding to stay in business.
Dlamini also says that people in Swaziland are told that they are HIV positive, when they are not.
Dlamini wrote, ‘There are many […] cases where people were diagnosed as HIV positive but when a second test was conducted in an institution outside Swaziland, they turned out HIV negative.
‘The reason I mention this case is just to highlight to the reader the true picture of what is really happening in Swaziland.
‘When the western countries opened their doors to the funding of states and organisations which deal with HIV and AIDS, Swaziland as a country of opportunists and greedy people, set out to find large numbers of HIV positive people so that the country could get a share of the funding.
‘Even HIV-negative people were found positive so that donors could pump money into the country.’
The Times Sunday allowed Dlamini to write this stuff (and much more) even though he offered no shred of evidence to support his claims. He didn’t even use the old trick of the journalist scoundrel of getting someone to make the claim so he could quote it as an excuse to go on a rant.
Dlamini is sending out a dangerous message. What he is telling Swazi people is that if they test HIV-positive they shouldn’t believe the diagnosis. They shouldn’t take life-saving ARV drugs and they shouldn’t modify their sexual behaviour to stop the virus spreading.
The Times Sunday needs to tell its readers the truth about HIV in plain language. It can begin by publicly accepting that Dlamini’s insane outburst is untrue. An explanation as to why it allowed him to write such dangerous nonsense in the first place would also be welcome.
Sunday, November 20, 2011
The Sunday Times newspaper in South Africa reports today (20 November 2011), ‘Inkhosikati LaDube [also known as Nothando Dube] was ordered to “immediately leave the palace” by royal governor Timothy Mthethwa, who was accompanied by other senior members of the royal family.’
The news will not be published by the media in Swaziland because they have a long-standing agreement not to report on King Mswati without his permission.
The Sunday Times says LaDube, aged 23, told the newspaper she had had an argument with a security guard who refused to let her out of the palace last Saturday.
She wanted to take the youngest of her three children, aged two, to hospital after she had injured herself while playing - but the guard said she was not allowed to leave.
‘[He] threatened to hit me, saying I am not going anywhere with my child, who was bleeding from a deep wound,’ she told the newspaper.
LaDube says an altercation ensued and she was ‘physically prevented’ from leaving the palace. ‘I had to protect myself so I [pepper]-sprayed him in the eyes.’
The matter was reported to the Queen Mother, who, the Sunday Times reports, apparently decided that LaDube had been disrespectful and had to be kicked out.
‘I couldn't even take all my stuff, because they just said “you have to pack and leave now”,’ she said. Her children remain at the palace.
The Sunday Times is usually on sale in Swaziland so we shall have to see if copies are pulled from the shelves today.
After LaDube’s love affair with the then Justice Minister Ndumiso Mamba was revealed in August 2010 by the City Press, another South African newspaper usually available in Swaziland, security forces were reportedly dispatched around the kingdom to buy up all copies.
I challenged him to tell the Swazi people through his newspapers that King Mswati III was a major cause of the crisis. Unsurprisingly, since Ndlangamandla is editor of the newspaper in effect owned by King Mswati and a former speechwriter to the King, he has not followed through on my suggestion.
Nor have any of the other media in Swaziland, where King Mswati is sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, told the people the truth.
Not so the foreign media. The latest to point out King Mswati’s vast wealth is Business Live in South Africa. Swaziland has been seeking a E1.4 billion (about US$170 million) loan this week to pay public service salaries. Under the headline, ‘A king who could easily bail out his kingdom’, the Grape Vine column in Business Live said yesterday, ‘With a personal war chest estimated at $200-million, Mswati could actually save the country single-handedly, instead of it having to ask its neighbour to help it, which it has already done.
‘The loan amount is said to be more than $170-million, which the king can easily afford.’
The ‘war chest’ it refers to is the personal net worth the King is estimated by Forbes to possess.
So, why doesn’t King Mswati use his money for his subjects? Words like ‘selfish’ and ‘greed’ come to my mind. But, alas, the Swazi people won’t be given the chance by their media to argue the case one way or another.
WE HAVE TO TALK ABOUT THE KING
IMF CALLS FOR SACRIFICE FROM KING
Saturday, November 19, 2011
Finance Minister Majozi Sithole had announced earlier this week it had raised enough money to cover the salaries for the next four months. Although he did not say how much the loan was worth, four months’ salary would be at least E1.4 billion.
On Thursday, the Swaziland Solidarity Network reported that E1 billion of that money had been raised by Africa Alliance and E400,000 by a company called Interneuron SA.
Now, African Alliance has categorically denied it has raised money for the government.
Tony da Costa, the company's chief executive told the AFP news agency yesterday (18 November 2011), ‘I would like to know where we would find a billion rand to give to the government of Swaziland.’
He added, ‘It is not correct that we are acting on behalf of his majesty. Nor have we ever.’
If African Alliance is telling the truth it begs the question where the money to pay public service wages has come from? The Swazi Government steadfastly refuses to give details of the loan, including its origin, or information about interest rates charged or other loan conditions.
Inevitably, this secrecy is raising doubts about whether the loan actually exists. Public servants are due to receive their pay checks from tomorrow (20 November 2011). First in line for monthly payments are politicians, followed in later days by public service workers. We should find out very soon whether the government has been telling the truth over its availability of funds.
Meanwhile, Interneuron SA has refused to confirm it has raised E400,000 for the government. The Swazi News reported today that Nicholas Balcomb, the Executive Director, told the newspaper it would have to ask the government for details of any loan.
But, the newspaper reports Minister of Finance Sithole also declined to reveal the companies or organisations they were currently talking to regarding financial assistance.
ANGER OVER SECRET SWAZI LOAN DEALS
PRIVATE LOANS AT LEAST E1.4 BILLION http://swazimedia.blogspot.com/2011/11/private-loans-at-least-e14-billion.html
Friday, November 18, 2011
The Swazi Government has refused to name the companies behind the deal, or to reveal the interest rates being charged, or any other conditions of the loan.
But SSN, citing ‘highly placed sources’ in the Swaziland Government and financial institutions, says African Alliance has offered to raise R1 billion, with Interneuron SA loaning the rest of the money.
SSN, in a statement said, ‘The king has shares in the African Alliance group and African Alliance Swaziland is managed by his financial adviser, friend and personal do-boy, Sithofeni Ginindza.’
SSN said the Swaziland Government has had to put up its own shares in Standard Bank, First National Bank, Ned Bank and Swazi Bank as collateral.
SSN said, ‘At a stroke of a pen the people of Swaziland are facing a real risk of losing whatever little family silver that the country still has. It would not be surprising if African Alliance emerges out of this illicit deal as the future super bank of Swaziland.’
SSN said, ‘Interneuron SA, has offered the government R400 million and seeks to hold the equivalent value of the Swaziland Electricity Company as it is also seeking to acquire the MTN Swaziland shares currently owned by the Swaziland Postal and Telephone
‘SPTC is willing to sell these shares but only at their market value. This company, however, wishes to use its loan to the Swazi government as leverage to acquire them at less than half this price.
SSN added, ‘If these activities are honourable and well-intended and not just another
opportunity to loot the little that is still left in the country, why are they being made under the cover of night. Moreover why were they not advertised publicly so that the local and regional markets and society can participate in them and scrutinize the efficacy of the deals on offer?’
SSN also said the Swaziland Government was privately offering to sell eight other parastatals to private investors. ‘Only people connected with the ruling elite have information on what is going on. The country is being auctioned away to shylocks and these thugs are determined to loot everything before they leave office.’
PRIVATE LOANS AT LEAST E1.4 BILLION http://swazimedia.blogspot.com/2011/11/private-loans-at-least-e14-billion.html
SWAZILAND DAYS AWAY FROM DISASTER
IMF CALLS FOR SACRIFICE FROM THE KING
This comes in the wake of what PUDEMO calls ‘blatant looting currently taking place as the regime is collapsing’.
In a statement it says, ‘A lot of money is changing accounts and the bulk is leaving the country. This is the least the international community can do to save the people of Swaziland.’
PUDEMO adds, ‘For a few months now, PUDEMO has been following with keen interest the interesting and highly secretive transactions between different sources within the royal family, the Swaziland government and certain business entities based in South Africa and elsewhere, with dubious characters and individuals. These political rodents are in a scramble to finish off whatever remains of the once-promising Swazi economy.’
18 November 2011
Swaziland ‘being mortgaged for loan’
Swaziland's economy could collapse within six months if drastic steps are not taken to reduce the country's enormous wage bill and address the spiralling deficit, a source close to the Swazi government said this week.
The Mail & Guardian understands that to pay public servants their salaries this month, and to avoid mass protests, the cash-strapped government is borrowing money from private financial institutions and using state assets as collateral.
These desperate measures follow the apparent collapse of negotiations for a R2.4-billion loan from South Africa, which Swaziland is believed to have turned down because it rejects conditions relating to democratic reform.
Failure to comply with the fiscal reform recommended by the International Monetary Fund has also cut off Africa's last absolute monarch from loan support from the World Bank, the African Development Bank and Western donors.
A source close to the government said: "The situation is totally unsustainable. I can't see it lasting more than six months like this. They're basically mortgaging their country for this loan, but once that money is spent, they will have no way to pay it back. We're already seeing humanitarian problems with social grants being cut. It's the HIV patients, the elderly, orphans and vulnerable children who are suffering."
To read the full Mail and Guardian report, click here.
18 November 2011
After Europe the winds of change blow towards Swaziland
The Times Editorial: The economic downturn across the world, it seems, is becoming the latest tool to remove ineffective governments from office.
The eurozone, the third-biggest economy in the world, has seen some of its governments toppled due to the downturn.
In less than a month, Greece and Italy have seen their heads of state removed from office. Their departure came not as a result of military coups or elections, but their inability to weather the economic storms.
In Italy, long-serving prime minister Silvio Berlusconi moved out of office last weekend, while George Papandreou in Greece also had to resign after weeks of protests against economic turmoil in the streets.
Politics took a back seat as citizens demanded a leadership that will provide economic stability.
But across our border, Swaziland's King Mswati III, Africa's last absolute monarch, is sitting pretty while his country is about to be declared bankrupt.
The International Monetary Fund warned the Swaziland government on Wednesday that its economic growth will grind down to near zero.
The fund said Swaziland's fiscal crisis has reached a critical stage and that government revenue collection is insufficient to cover essential public expenditures.
In his attempt to continue to stifle political freedom, Mswati refused a R2.4-billion bailout from South Africa because it came with conditions.
In a country like Swaziland, where political freedom is curtailed, nothing seems to threaten King Mswati, who boasts an extensive share portfolio in his country's strategic companies, and his government for now.
But as we have seen in Europe and other countries, economic collapse has the potential to bring down the most powerful.
It is only a matter of time before politicians will find themselves outside parliament and technocrats running the show as has now happened in Italy.
He said it was unlikely that King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, could save the situation. He told Voice of America (VoA), ‘We have said for a long time that all this crises that the country is experiencing -- economic, social, health, education and welfare -- are all just mere symptoms of an unworkable system of governance,’ said Masuku.
‘It all centres on one question which is “what is the problem of Swaziland?” And the problem of Swaziland, unfortunately, points to the issue of the monarchy.’
Masuku told VoA, ‘PUDEMO has said over again that the monarchy [should] look after cultural and traditional issues and leave the government of the people to the people.’
He added, ‘The people should form their own government and elect their own cabinet. Then these [financial problems] will be able to be solved.’
He said unless there was multiparty democracy in Swaziland, ‘we will continue to experience [troubles] irrespective of whether we get a bailout or not’.