The Blue Ticker in Chief

Swazis are frustrated and tired of the country’s reigning King, Mswati III. Trust me, this frustration is not from the so called ‘20 percent of the population’ as alleged by the country’s appointed Prime Minister Cleopas Dlamini during an interview with CNN’s Larry Madowo. Said Dlamini in the interview: “protesters on TV is an exaggerated picture of what’s happening (in the country). More than 80% favour the status quo.” Utter lies!!!!

Actually, turn the aforementioned figures around and you’ll get the true picture of the current situation in Africa’s absolute monarchy. We are fed up!

Let me explain this. The 20 percent are hangers-on that have directly benefited from the current system. The figures mentioned by Dlamini are those who have benefited from the rest of the citizens' hard earned cash, leaving them with nothing to take home. These are my countrymen and women who have to repeatedly tell their children they can’t buy them fancy clothes or feed them decent meals because there is no money. The children struggle to understand this because they see their parents going to work every single day and wonder what then do they work for.

Truth be told, as a people we have had enough of this Tinkhundla system, so much so that we are no longer afraid to publicly address the king by all sorts of names: a thief, an abuser, a coward, an arrogant selfish leader that grabs everything for himself and--my favourite one too-- “the blue ticker”. Our King has literally shown the country’s citizens the middle finger by indirectly telling us “I hear your noise, so what?”

To add salt to our wounded emotions, Mswati and his legions of children and harem have the nerve to show off ill-gotten wealth accumulated from monies stolen from the people of eSwatini. His children have the temerity to flash expensive jewellery on social media platforms. Talking of children, he recently instructed his first born daughter who doubles as Minister of Information & Communication Technology (ICT) Princess Sikhanyiso to shut down the internet to prevent communication amongst citizens in a bid to sabotage the planning of public protests against him. I digress. I apologize, there’s just too much happening in our beloved country, it’s overwhelming.

Maybe to understand the current impasse we must go back to where it all started. Back in May (2021), the Swazi students protested demanding justice for the mysterious death of one of their own--Thabani Nkomonye--who allegedly died at the hands of police officers. Then Acting Prime Minister Themba Masuku appointed an inquest to probe the cause of the death.

This death led to three Members of Parliament to confidently call for an elected Prime Minister. The state responded by exiling one MP--Mduduzi Simelane-- and arresting the two others, Mthandeni Dube and Bacede Mabuza. Mabuza and Dube are currently in prison for doing their job--voicing emaSwati’s concerns in parliament. There was a view that the King would respond but all we got was a “blue tick”.

As a country we respectfully requested to elect our own Prime Minister so that the government can make fair decisions without being influenced by the powers that be, but once again the nation was “blue ticked”. Swazis requested for a dialogue batochaza the need for an elected PM because at that time they thought that the king probably didn’t understand the whole idea because, as we all thought, he’s not a politician to understand. We figured he was probably wondering why the sudden need to elect a PM after so many years of just calling the nation to eSibayeni where he would impose a Dlamini Prime Minister to a shout of ‘bayethe’. Guess what? He “blue ticked” the nation once again.

Short of responding to the genuine demands of the nation King Mswati invited the nation to gather at the royal cattle byre at the height of COVID, not only to make a laughing stock of us but also to insult the nation by calling us “Weed Smokers” that are drunk.

A king insulting the nation was not just undignified and disrespectful but also showed just how little he thinks of us. Thank God the media was there to capture the speech otherwise it would have been unbelievable that a king would respond to a genuine demand for reforms in such a condescending way.

Did I mention that after insulting the nation about being weed smokers, he told them that everything in this country belongs to him? Yep! He said it, boldly and proudly! Ironically, that’s the exact reason the nation wants their country back. We want ‘Swazi-land’ back to its owners not the facade of a country he created in 2018 when he changed the name to “Eswatini”.

On the 15th of October, the king attended the official opening of a new hospital wing at the Mbabane government hospital where he got an opportunity to show off his jewellery once more. Less than a kilometer away from this event there were protests from citizens demanding democratic reforms. I believe he could actually hear the chants from where he was standing.

Instead of at least addressing the chants he heard from the citizens he chose to make a laughing stock of Pastor Justice Dlamini and others who are questioning his rule.

This was the last blue tick. Swazis are angry.

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