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Speaking my mind

by .

Mao Tse Tung, the Chinese revolutionary leader, once said the population of any country is generally composed of three parts; a small group that fervently supports the country’s political system, another small group that are strongly opposed to it  and the masses who are largely neutral and play little part in politics.

Events in recent months in this country have shown that whatever it is that our leaders are doing to run this country is not working. We really need to start looking for new ways to make this country functional because, as things stand, Swaziland has collapsed.

Portrait of Bheki Makhubu

Mao Tse Tung’s words were said by a man who was born in 1893, a communist of note and one of the world’s most brutal dictators. Yet they resonate in today’s Swaziland as if they were said by someone who lives among us.

Our leaders continue to hold on to a non-functional political system called Tinkhundla because they believe that the vast majority, whom Tse Tung describes as neutral, actually agree with the way the country is run.

In the two years that Barnabas Sibusiso Dlamini has been Prime Minister, his leadership has been a monumental disgrace and an unprecedented spectacular failure. Stupidity, chicanery and calous deception have characterised this government in office.

Simply because the vast majority of the people are quiet and neutral about our politics, has been read as a licence to mess up our lives. We really need to start asking ourselves whether we are alright with this.

The leaders currently running this country have stolen from us. What’s most annoying is that they are unapologetic about it and believe we owe them something.

Take Ntuthuko Dlamini, the Minister for Public Works and Transport who is throwing a fit that the Minister for Finance, Majozi Sithole, said some cabinet ministers are corrupt. He wants an explanation from his colleague or, alternatively, an apology. Was it not the Auditor General, Africa Hadebe, who told us that Minister for Information, Communications and Technology, Nelisiwe Shongwe had stolen from the tax-paying public through fraudulent tenders? Was the Minister for Housing and Urban Development, Lindiwe Gwebu, not found to have been paid twice for a meeting she hosted at her guest house?

Obviously, Ntuthuko knows this, but because he is just as arrogant as his bosses, he is trying to tap into the insecurity of the neutral masses who only want to live in peace in the hope they will placate him and his corrupt cabinet colleagues.

What I am saying here is that Ntuthuko is trying to stop us from talking about the corruption in cabinet by trying to bully us into submission. Well, here we go, Mr Dlamini. Lindiwe Gwebu and Nelisiwe Shongwe are corrupt. So is the Prime Minister, his deputy and all the ministers who stole land from Swazis simply because they could.

If you want an apology for this, then prove that they are not.

Last month, the Prime Minister went to the Senate and made a statement claiming he never got any land at a discounted price. He painted a picture of himself as a man who was a victim of a conspiracy.
He would have us believe that, after all, he was doing us a favour by taking land from us without following procedure. He wants us to be grateful for his being such a nice guy.

As a society, we need to start asking ourselves how long we are prepared to stand for this. That the vast majority of the people in this country are quiet, sitting by and pretending all is well does not vindicate the behaviour of our leaders.

We are currently led by a very bad government, corrupt to the core. It has lost all the moral integrity to lead us. That’s a fact.

When you read the story of Mohamed Bouazizi, the young man in Tunisia who lit himself up and started a revolution that has become a nightmare for Arableaders in northern Africa, you find a story of a man who belonged to the vast majority of neutral people in a country that was beset by untold corruption among its leaders.

All Mohamed wanted to do on the day was to sell fruits and vegetables at the local market. This was a jobless man with a university degree. It took a woman working for the local council to slap him in the face for a revolution to begin.

I don’t consider myself among the majority of neutrals. I and a few others who complain about how this country is run are not the threat. It is the frustrated majority who feel helpless and too scared to say anything who should worry this country’s authorities.

You only have to ask the Arabs how these things work. Aren’t they our best friends these days?

Come to think of it, Prince Sicalo has just returned from Libya. It would be nice if he were to give a talk, say at the Convention Centre, and give us an exposition of what drives a people, docile under a dictatorship for 40 years to suddenly turn against their leader and tell him to leave office.

His views would be invaluable to all of us.

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