News / Africa

Swaziland Rejects Criticism of Re-Appointed PM

King of Swaziland Mswati III (Front) and one of his 13 wives disembark from a plane after arriving at Katunayake International airport in Colombo, Sri Lanka, August 13, 2012. (Reuters)
King of Swaziland Mswati III (Front) and one of his 13 wives disembark from a plane after arriving at Katunayake International airport in Colombo, Sri Lanka, August 13, 2012. (Reuters)
Peter Clottey
The spokesman for Swaziland’s government has rejected criticisms that re-appointed Prime Minister Sibusiso Barnabas Dlamini is incompetent and untrustworthy.

This is the third time that Dlamini will serve as the country’s prime minister.  He last held the position from 1996 to 2003.

Percy Simelane says King Mswati III re-appointed Prime Minister Dlamini because of his leadership qualities as well as his determination to weed out corruption in the southern African kingdom.

“[Dlamini] has done so well and the king put it in no uncertain terms why the prime minister had to be re-appointed. When he took over, the economy was flat, and he turned the wheel around,” said Simelane. “When he took over, people who had access to clean water in Swaziland accounted for 54 percent, when he finished his term, it was over 70 percent.”

Simelane said Dlamini cracked down on graft in the administration and on other crimes. He added that those opposed to his re-appointment may have been affected by his success.

“Crime, particularly corruption, was very rife. Those people who believed they were untouchable as far as crime or corruption was concerned had it hard with him because people were arrested and their cases are in Swazi court of law,” said Simelane. “So it is expected that those who don’t want to see this country go forward will say all kinds of things against the prime minister.”

But, critics say Dlamini is an enemy of freedom who uses the country’s security forces to violently crush pro-democracy groups. They also said the king undermined the constitution by re-appointing him after parliament passed a vote of no confidence against Dlamini in October 2012. 

                    Elections

Poll monitors from the Commonwealth Observer Mission questioned the credibility of the country’s September national elections. In their report, the observers suggested the country re-write its constitution banning political parties from participating in elections. It also says members of the Swazi parliamentary powers continue to be severely limited, and that the country needs more democratic reform. But, Simelane disagreed.

“It was Swazis who contributed to the constitution, and this is the way they want for us to go. The commonwealth [also] contributed to the putting together of this constitution, which took nine years not nine days,” said Simelane.    
Clottey interview with Percy Simelane, Swaziland government spokesman
Clottey interview with Percy Simelane, Swaziland government spokesmani
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