People in Swaziland have been ordered not to comment on the controversial sponsorship of a new soccer tournament because King Mswati III has "pronounced" on the subject.

In a stark example of the lack of freedom of speech in the tiny kingdom where King Mswati rules as sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, the most senior monarchy loyalist TV Mtetwa has pronounced that ‘members of parliament, [cabinet] ministers and whoever’ must be silent on the matter.

The controversy surrounds the E9 million (about US$900,000) sponsorship of the Ingwenyama Cup tournament by the government parastatal Sincephetelo Motor Vehicle Accident Fund (SMVAF). SMVAF exists to compensate victims of road accidents.

range of critics said the amount of sponsorship was too much to spend in a kingdom that was presently battling with poverty and a drought. Seven in ten of the King’s 1.3 million subjects live in abject poverty with incomes of less than US$2 a day.

But, the Swazi Observer on Saturday, a newspaper in effect owned by King Mswati, reported on Saturday (21 November 2015) that Mtetwa, who is generally regarded as the ‘traditional prime minister’, said people must stop discussing the topic, ‘because the lion has already roared on the matter' - meaning the king has spoken, and that's final.

The newspaper added, ‘Mtetwa said since time immemorial it had been a traditional norm that no one speaks after the King had spoken.’

The newspaper said, ‘He warned all critics to guard against being seen to be going against pronouncements made by the King.’

The newspaper added, ‘Also sought for comment, was traditionalist and National Court President Ndumiso Dlamini who put it clear that he expected no one to taint what the king had blessed’.

‘He said it was a known traditional or and cultural practice that once His Majesty had spoken, no one is expected to say a word against his.’

As Swaziland Vigil UK, we will continue fighting against such traditions and practices because these are the very core violations of human rights the Swazi regime exercises without even the possibility of being challenged. We continue to FIGHT FOR DEMOCRACY IN SWAZILAND, FREEDOM OF SPEECH, HUMAN RIGHTS AND ALSO WOMEN's RIGHTS until the whole world hears us.

VIVA SWAZI VIGIL VIVA!!Raised fist

By: Rainny Dlamini

References:

  1. Swazi Observer, Ingwenyama Cup to change lives - CEO, http://www.observer.org.sz/news/77311-ingwenyama-cup-to-change-lives-ceo.html, Date Accessed: 21-11-2015
  2. Swazi Observer, Ingwenyama Cup; Akutsi Nya - TV Mtetwa, http://www.observer.org.sz/news/77312-ingwenyama-cup-akutsi-nya-tv-mtetwa.html, Date Accesseds: 21-11-2015