News that spread internationally that in Swaziland only King Mswati III should be afforded the honour of a red carpet at special events reminds us of another time the King wanted to assert his superiority over his subjects.
That time, according to a cable from the US Embassy in Swaziland, the King made his advisors sweat in 40-degree heat in a basement to demonstrate his power over them.
The issue of the red carpet emerged when it was reported that the red carpet at the Business Woman of the Year Awards ceremony this year (2015) was rolled away. The same happened at the Swaziland Inter Municipal Games Association (SIGA). The Times of Swaziland, the only independent newspaper in the kingdom, reported that the Swazi Police had ordered SIGA to remove the red carpet. Barnabas Dlamini, the Swazi Prime Minister, was at the event to give a speech. According to Swaziland Solidarity Network (SSN) the police had acted on king's orders.
But the Royal Swaziland Police denied any such order from anyone let alone from the king. This is the usual tactic they use, ...violate human rights and when the international community expresses discontent about it, the Swazi regime denies responsibility and dismisses the whole act as some light-hearted activity at the discretion of some individual etc... In this case the police spokesperson Superintendent Khulani Mamba pulled the same trick by distancing the police from the BAN of using red carpets during public or private functions. And yet he did confirm the police did order the functions' organisers to roll-up the red carpet... he claimed "...no specific individual instructed the cops to remove the red carpet but was feeling of those who were waiting to welcome him (the prime minister) that such good gesture may be lost in interpretation, hence the decision to remove it".
I believe it is and should be the right of every individual to use any rug / carpet / tiles / fabric etc of any colour they prefer and choose without interference from the state or government. I strongly object to King Mswati III and his cohorts to his meddling with citizen's fundamental rights to use commodities as they wish. I do not accept that the monarchy holds a proprietary right and access to certain colours and to certain coloured rugs... its a basic human right to clothe and adorn oneself as it suits within the golden rules of not hurting anyone else in the process.
As part of the Swazi Vigil UK protest group, I call upon the king to come to his senses and realise the stupidity with which he conducts himself and the way he heads the country... Phansi ngaMswati Phansi!!!
The king's unwise behaviour in running the country has caught the eyes of the international community as quoted by the American Embassy in Swaziland's cable to Washington which stated that King Mswati was "...not intellectually well developed..., was not a reader..., was imbalanced..., has a lack of wisdom..." etc. This shames us as Swazi people (eMaSwati) when someone who should be holding a high esteemed position in our country is seen to be any of these descriptions, not because they are just belittling him, but because of his actions, his behaviour and the way he runs the country like his personal farm... speaking of which Swaziland in many ways is his farm since the 1973 King's Proclamation gives him the sole ownership of the country and all state owned real-estate.
That is the very reason I stand with our comrades at Swazi Vigil and call for the respect of human rights, freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom of thought, freedom of conscience, freedom of religion etc in Swaziland. We will continue to fight until there is Full Democracy in Swaziland... Phambili Swazi Vigil, Phambili!!!
Viva Swazi Vigil Viva!!
By: Zodwa Dlamini
- Swazi Media, PETTINESS OF THE KING'S RED CARPET, Richard Rooney, 2 December 2015 http://swazimedia.blogspot.co.uk/2015/12/pettiness-of-kings-red-carpet.html; Date Accessed: 05-12-2015.
- Facebook, Save Amos Mbedzi-Release All Political Prisoners (SWAZILAND), Lucky Lukhele, 24 November 2015, https://www.facebook.com/www.ssnonline.net/posts/613015975505639; Date Accessed: 05-12-2015.
- Times of Swaziland, SIGA ORDERED TO REMOVE RED CARPET AT GALA DINNER, Sibongile Sukati, 25 November 2015, http://www.times.co.sz/news/105713-siga-ordered-to-remove-red-carpet-at-gala-dinner.html; Date Accessed: 05-12-2015