Friday, October 30, 2015


King Mswati III of Swaziland booked more than 200 hotel rooms to accommodate his entourage at the Indo-African summit that concluded in Delhi on Thursday (29 October 2015), according to media reports from India.

Zee media reported he took his 15 wives, 30 children and 100 servants to a five-star hotel.

According to News World India, each room cost between 7,000 and 15,000 rupees (US$230) a night. If the account is correct the rooms alone would have cost up to US$46,000 a night.

Swaziland was one of 54 nations represented at the summit, designed to encourage trade between India and African countries.

Media in Swaziland which extensively cover the King’s official foreign travels have been silent about the cost of the trip.

King Mswati, who rules Swaziland as sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, has a stranglehold over the media in his kingdom where seven in ten of his subjects live in abject poverty earning less than US$2 per day. At that rate it would take most Swazi workers nearly four months to earn the cost of the King’s hotel room for one night.

King Mswati was listed among seven ‘dictators’ who attended the summit by India’s Catch News.

It said, ‘Mswati III came to power as a 14 year-old following his father’s passing, even though his mother ruled in his stead until he turned 18. Waiting for him to mature into a sensible leader was a good idea, unfortunately, it didn’t pan out that way.

‘As King of Swaziland, Mswati III is virtually all-powerful, with powers over both the executive and judiciary. But with great power comes great responsibility. Sadly no one ever told Mswati III that. 

‘He practises polygamy and currently has 15 wives, which isn't the problem. No, the problem is that not all of his brides consented to marrying him. One, as young as 18, disappeared from her school and was later found being forced to marry Mswati III, an act that was condemned by Amnesty International.

‘Still, he builds his wives palaces and sends them to Europe on his private jet for lavish shopping sprees. Unfortunately this benevolence doesn't extend to Swaziland's general populace, with over 60% of the population living on under $2 a day.

‘He's also been accused of using force (even lethally) to silence dissenters, activists and journalists. With Swaziland's monarchical system deeply entrenched in the Swazi way of life, his reign isn't ending anytime soon.’


More than one in three Swazi people want political parties to be allowed in the kingdom, ruled by King Mswati III as an autocratic monarch.
The figure comes even though all debate on democratising the kingdom is ruthlessly crushed by King Mswati’s state police and security forces. Meetings called to discuss democratic change are routinely disrupted by police and prodemocracy activists are jailed.

No news media in Swaziland support political parties.

In Swaziland, political parties are banned from taking part in elections. Groups that support democracy are banned under the Suppression of Terrorism Act. The King chooses the Prime Minister and Government. No members of the Swazi Senate House are elected by the people.

The people are allowed to elect 55 members of the 65-strong House of Assembly but the other 10 are chosen by the King.

Afrobarometer reported on Thursday (29 October 2015) that in Swaziland 36 percent of people questioned agreed with the statement, ‘The Swazi Constitution should be amended to allow for the existence of political parties in our country.’

A total of 58 percent agreed with the statement, ‘The constitutional ban on political parties has served our country well and should therefore be maintained.’

Tuesday, October 20, 2015


King Mswati III of Swaziland who was once reported to have a personal net worth of US$200 million has told a court that he has no assets outside of Swaziland.
He made his statement in a case where he is personally being sued over a US$3.5 million debt relating to repairs and improvements to his private jet aircraft. 

The Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) made a freezing order against the King, who rules Swaziland as sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, which meant he could not dispose of his jet until the debt dispute was resolved. King Mswati was also required by the court to disclose his assets. 

In an affidavit to the court, Sihle Dlamini, the King’s Private Secretary and Director of Administration at the King’s Office, who had been authorised by the King to swear on his behalf, stated the King had no ‘commercial assets’ outside of Swaziland. He also stated the King, ‘does not own any assets in the United Kingdom’ and that the King did not ‘own any assets in any overseas territories of the United Kingdom’.

He also stated that the King and the King’s company Inchatsavane, which is also being sued, ‘do not own any other property, solely or jointly, in their own name or not, in any other jurisdiction outside of Swaziland’.

King Mswati’s wealth is a closely guarded secret. In August 2007, Forbes magazine first disclosed that his personal net worth was US$200 million (E1.4 billion at the then exchange rate). That figure was revised downwards in later years. 

In June 2014, Forbes estimated his wealth had fallen to US$50 million, which made him the third wealthiest monarch in Africa. 

Forbes reported, ‘The King is one of Africa’s wealthiest royals. His personal net worth is at least $50 million, based on the annual $50 million salary that he is paid out of government coffers. 

‘He also controls Tibiyo TakaNgwane, an investment holding company that owns stakes in sugar refining giants Ubombo Sugar and Royal Swaziland Sugar Corporation (RSSC), dairy company Parmalat Swaziland, spirits manufacturer Swaziland Beverages and hotel chain Swazi Spa Holdings. The company has assets worth over $140 million, but he holds it in trust for the people of Swaziland.’

In 2012, Forbes named King Mswati as one of the top five worst rulers in Africa. 

It reported the King ruled over a kingdom which has one of the world’s highest HIV prevalence rates: over 35 percent of adults. Its average life expectancy is the lowest in the world at 33 years; nearly 70 percent of the country’s people live on less than US$1 a day and 40 percent are unemployed. 

It added, ‘But for all the suffering of the Swazi people, King Mswati has barely shown concern or interest. 

‘He lives lavishly, using his kingdom’s treasury to fund his expensive tastes in German automobiles, first-class leisure trips around the world and women. But his gross mismanagement of his country’s finances is now having dire economic consequences. Swaziland is going through a severe fiscal crisis. 

‘The kingdom’s economy is collapsing and pensions have been stopped. In June last year [2011], the King begged for a financial bailout from South Africa.’

In February 2011 the Mail & Guardian newspaper in South Africa reported King Mswati also had US$10-billion that was put in trust in King Mswati’s name for the people of Swaziland by his father, King Sobhuza II.

In 2015, a report from the United States government report concluded there was no oversight in the kingdom on how the King, his 15 wives and vast Royal Family spent public money.

See also





The two Swaziland journalists who were jailed for writing and publishing articles critical of the judiciary but later released by the Supreme Court are suing the Swazi Government for millions of emalangeni.

Thulani Maseko, a human rights lawyer and writer, wants E20 million (about US$2 million) and Bheki Makhubu, the editor of the Nation magazine, where the articles appeared, wants E3.7 million.

The pair spent about 470 days in jail of a two-year sentence after being convicted of contempt of court in a case that attracted condemnation from across the world.

They claim unlawful arrest, prosecution and detention.

Makhubu, in his letter of demand directed to the office of Attorney General Majahenkhaba Dlamini, says his arrest, prosecution and detention were unlawful and without probable and/or reasonable cause and were motivated by malicious intent.

Makhubu’s claim includes compensation for malicious arrest, prosecution and detention; defamation of character; emotional trauma, shock and discomfort and legal costs incurred during his trial.

Thulani Maseko who is claiming E20 million stated that he was maliciously prosecuted and he was released when the Crown conceded that the arrest, prosecution and detentions were unlawful. 

See also


Monday, October 19, 2015


The Swaziland House of Assembly Speaker Themba Msibi has been told to resign by a Parliamentary Select Committee.

The five-member committee found him guilty of a series of offences, including nepotism and favouritism in the hiring of parliamentary staff;

plotting the ousting/removal of the Prime Minister  Barnabas Dlamini from the Premiership position;

abusing the name of the monarchy for his own selfish ends;

promoting anarchy and running parliament like a personal fiefdom, and

engaging in corrupt practices not being trustworthy and being fraudulent.

The Select Committee recommended he resign within seven days of the adoption of its report. Parliament has yet to discuss the report.

Msibi has been surrounded in controversy over the past few months. He was briefly suspended from his duties in June 2015.

Following the publication of details contained in the Select Committee report, Msibi told local media in Swaziland that he had no intention of resigning.

The Observer on Sunday, a newspaper in effect owned by King Mswati III and seen as the mouthpiece of Swazi Royalty, published the findings of the Select Committee report on Sunday (18 October 2015). It is reproduced below.

Select Committee findings

 1. The Speaker (Honourable Themba Msibi) indeed interferes with the hiring and promotion of staff members in parliament. The Speaker’s actions are tantamount to nepotism and favouritism, abuse of authority, corruption and fraud.

2. The Honourable Speaker Themba Msibi (MP) did misrepresent the CPA [Commonwealth Parliamentary Association] Swaziland branch in the CPA Africa branch; when he fraudulently nominated himself as CPA Southern Africa Regional Representative much against the Swaziland CPA Constitution. The Speaker Themba Msibi fraudulently selected himself to become Regional Representative without consent of the Executive Committee, CPA Swaziland branch.

3. That the Honourable Speaker did expel the Joint House Committee; directly or constructively. The Speaker Honourable Themba Msibi acted improperly and violated the privileges of House by acting ultra vires.

4. The Speaker plotted the ousting/removal of the Right Honourable Prime Minister  Sibusiso Dlamini from the Premiership position. The presiding officers abuse the name of the monarchy for their own selfish ends. They were a deadly combination that sought to destabilise the government as ‘messengers’ of royalty.

5. The Speaker has no admiration, respect, regard and reverence for members of parliament; as he took two secretaries, including his favoured Secretary 1, for a trip to Korea.

6. That the parliamentary organogram and remuneration need review; particularly the Hansard Department. The entire staffing system in parliament has been grossly corrupted.

7. The presiding officers interfere and jeopardise the work of the clerk to parliament. Unfortunately, the clerk gets intimidated and succumbs to their whims.

8. The Speaker did hire and promote parliamentary staff, yet there is no single piece of regulation or policy that assigns that responsibility to his office.

9. The Speaker not only practices nepotism in parliament, but also promotes anarchy. The Speaker is running parliament like a personal fiefdom, without any regard for the government’s general orders which govern the parliament’s staff.

10. The Honourable Speaker did unscrupulously try to siphon the select committee’s investigation information from the Technician working with the select committee, as evidenced by the police statement attached.

11. The Speaker Honourable Themba Msibi fails to control his temper, as per evidence of Honourable Sitezi Dlamini, Library1, Library 2, assistant clerk 4 and others.

12. The Honourable Speaker did engage in corrupt practices, which include his failure to recuse himself or at least declare interest to the Parliamentary Service Board meetings when accounts 1, cleaner 1, canteen 1were interviewed.

13. The Speaker is not trustworthy and is fraudulent.

14. The Speaker treats parliament as an extension of his own personal property. 

15. The Speaker does have dubious, shady, and adulterous relationships with parliamentary female staff members. It is unfortunate that about half of those ladies associated with the Speaker’s ‘shenanigans’ are married.

16. The Speaker usurped the responsibility of procurement from the office of the clerk and made it his own business, obviously for unclean and unprofessional reasons.

17. The Honourable Speaker has no respect for parliament, as he flatly refused to appear before the select Committee while on the other end continued to tarnish the image of parliament by making headlines in the media, responding to the allegations he was being investigated for.

18. That in parliament, there are serious allegations of ‘sex for jobs’.

19. That the Honourable Speaker has uncontrollable weakness for women.


1. The presiding officers ‘interference in purely administrative matters should be condemned in the strongest terms since it is tantamount to flagrant abuse of authority. Therefore a review of all the illegal appointments made should be undertaken by the Management Services Department and a way forward mapped out.

2. Parliament should expedite the enactment of the Parliamentary Service Board Bill, so that a properly constituted PSB can be established.

3. The whole staffing system needs a thorough review that will address improved working conditions, including remuneration, promotion etc.

4. The hiring of parliamentary staff should be based on the principle of meritocracy, to avoid the ‘sex for jobs’ scenario.

5. The Joint House Committee must resume its duties forthwith, as it was illegally dissolved by the presiding officers. Those responsible for its dissolution should not be allowed to interfere in its operation ever again.

6. The Honourable Speaker must be surcharged by Treasury for 
a) The money unduly paid to him in ‘refund’ for a book he bought in London, which remains unaccounted for;
b) Defrauding government by filing for full per diem on a fully sponsored trip to South Korea; and this must also include all those who formed part of his delegation;
c) The computers that he unilaterally purchased.  

7. Fraud, corrupt practices, theft and abuse of authority are covered in the Prevention of Corruption Act, 2006. It is expected therefore that the Anti-Corruption Commission will execute its mandate as provided in law; without fear or favour. It is quite incontestable, if not indubitable, that the findings portray the administrative atmosphere in parliament as so polarised and corrupted that the long arm of the law has to intervene.

8. The House business should continue with or without the Speaker. Parliamentary Committees should not compromise the integrity of Parliament by remaining indifferent even when the institution is being eroded. No individual has the right to stall parliamentary business, for this is a sacred institution.

9. It is crystal clear, and one need not be a rocket scientist to tell that the current Speaker Honourable Themba Msibi is not fit to hold the office of the Speaker; and cannot be rehabilitated.

In light of the preceding revelations, which include acts of corruption, fraud, misrepresentation of facts, illegal procurement, graphic sexual escapades, nepotism, favouritism, abuse of power, bringing the name of the monarchy into disrepute; it is, therefore, concluded that the Hon. Speaker, Honourable Themba Msibi must sacrifice the seals of his office.

The Honourable Speaker must, within seven (7) days from the adoption of this report, do the honourable thing and resign as Speaker of the House of Assembly; failing which a vote of no confidence be passed on him in terms of Section 102(7)(b) of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Swaziland.

See also