Mfomfo on Monday 22 June 09

Ever since I started writing the articles with a view to influence Swazis and their friends, together with those who consider Swaziland as part of a global village, I have only written once to His Majesty (an open letter) following some information that my King was seeing red over an article I had written. I had to apologise to my King for a mistake I had made. But today I feel it would be appropriate to write him another one where I spell out clearly what I would have him listen to, if I were to have an opportunity to tell him what is in my mind and possibly in the minds of other Swazis with whom we share common beliefs. l strongly believe that what I should tell you in private are the things I should be able to tell you in public to demonstrate my sincerity with you.

“Your Majesty,

I would like to thank you, Your Majesty, for having granted me this opportunity to pour my heart out to you. Let me make it clear to you that you are my King and I am your loyal subject. I have been brought up by both my Mother and my Father who, through the mercy of Lord God Almighty, are still alive today. They have been able to pass on to me certain traditional and customary values and practices that I have been able to hold on to in my time as a young person. My parents have tried to enhance my natural wisdom in a way that they felt was appropriate. These customary and traditional practices have been further shaped by the ever changing environment.

You and I, have known each other for a long time. We have so many things in common. I want to focus on the things that we have in common so that we may build on their strengths to help marginalize the perceived differences (if there are differences at all).

We both have families and are naturally obliged to meet certain obligations so that they may have a better lifestyle compared to ours. We both need to sow seeds of hope to our children. It is our duty to nurture these seeds of hope in our children so that when they are talking to their peers, they may tell them what they want to be and do tomorrow (when they have finished basic education and also gone for further training in institutions of higher education like colleges and universities).

We both have a responsibility to teach them to know that all people are created in the image of God and therefore, have to be treated with respect and be given equal opportunities. We both have to teach them that there is nothing they can achieve without co-operating with honest and sincere people.

We both know that there are no differences that may be settled by fists, knobkerries, spears and guns.

We both have a common history that tells us that this nation never took up arms against itself.

We both know that it would be very difficult to govern this country without the co-operation of the majority of the people of Swaziland.

We both know that it is much safer to have a neighbour who speaks his/her mind than to have one who keeps his/her opinion to himself/herself.

We both know that it would be bad for both of us to fail our children.

I am aware that we do have different roles to play in as far as creating a conducive environment for our children is concerned. You are the King and I am your subject. The environment in which I find myself is making it very difficult for me to survive. If it is making it very difficult for me to survive, then there are no seeds of hope that I may sow for my children to dream and believe that they may realise their dreams. I want them to live a life of choice in this country but the environment in which I find myself, is not giving me those possibilities of telling and encouraging them to dream. I know that the young princes and princesses have dreams and they are getting close to realizing them.

Your Majesty, when a man is having a problem and goes about looking for solutions and at the end of the day realizes that the proposed solutions do not seem to work, it is natural for that person to look for a scape goat. I was also one of your subjects who were, with a lot of pride and jubilation, looking forward to seeing so many of the children of your subjects accessing free primary education as enshrined in the constitution of your Kingdom as well as mine. Your reversal of the promise you had made to your subjects was equal to a dagger in the heart. I am sure you are aware that a man stabbed to death by a person he holds dear to his heart bleeds even in the tomb, just like Julius Ceaser said to Brutus, et tu Brut, when Brutus put in the dagger into Ceaser’s upper body. My heart sinks when I think of the number of young children who will grow up without education.

In the midst of spiraling unemployment fueled by the economic decline of our biggest trading partner, RSA, I fail to be convinced how my King could reverse a pledge that would have brought hope to so many children of his loyal subjects. Our young people who cross the border to the RSA do so out of humility, pity and shame. They can never walk tall in a land to which they have come to work and live not by choice. Whilst you and I stay in Swaziland, let us hope that these young people who have emigrated to RSA, Mozambique, Europe, etc, do not turn their backs to Swaziland forever.

We may have gotten used to doing things the old way and it is time we change attitudes, embrace new thinking and be prepared to take calculated risks for the sake of our survival as a people and the sake of our children and those to come after us.

Let history judge us (you and me) by what we did and not what we failed to do. We cannot fall back on old ideologies because time is not on our side. We, as a nation, need to take the path of participative democracy in which the majority of the people will have a role to play in the decision making structures that they would have approved.

Practical solutions are needed to the practical challenges that are engulfing us as a nation. The notion that, only those appointed by you are wise and have to do the thinking for the majority, is the biggest hurdle we are facing as a nation. It does not build this nation. It does not instill confidence and seeds of hope to your people about tomorrow and the day after. The burden of leading this country is too much for you alone and we are paying a heavy price for it with our lives. You need to unleash the potential that is locked in your subjects by facilitating the creation of an environment in which we can decide for ourselves how best to solve these problems.

We need to decide for ourselves as to who is better placed to do a particular job well. We need to decide for ourselves the kind of lifestyle we want to live. We need to create an enabling environment for ourselves and our children.

I therefore ask you to be brave, have courage and patience to do what is right for me, yourself, your children and my children. I speak not, Your Majesty, for myself but for the Swazi man and woman who has been told, systematically, to keep his/her thoughts to himself/herself. I also speak for those who want real change they can believe in. I also speak for our children too who are also your children by virtue of being the King of Swaziland. The right path may seem too difficult to take for now but if you take it you will never run out of ideas and assistance. May the Lord help you understand my plea on behalf of your subjects.

Your Majesty, I thank you.


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One Response to “Mfomfo on Monday 22 June 09”

  1. Tor Egelien Says:

    I live in a Kingdom where the King has no real power. He is an essential part of our governing system, but as a symbol, not as an ecxecutive power. We respect him and love him. We are proud of him and his family when they perform their duties, and when they are travelling around our country visiting places. The King and his family are benefactors for a multitude of organisations, all of them humaniterian an some within science. During the second world war the King became our symbol for the 5 year long fight against those who occupied our country.
    Every New Years Eve the King adresses the nation. His speeches are not on behalf of the rich but the whole nation and especially of those who may not live under the best circumstanses
    and of caring for each other.

    There are people in our country who wants to dethrone the King and create a republic. There are those who critisises him and his family in the press from time to time. They are a small minority, but our freedom of speach gives them their right to express their opinions, without ANY kind of persecution or harassment. I deeply disagree with them, but i will fight for their (and my) right to freedom of expression.

    I belive that if a similar letter went to our King, I think he would express his sympathy, but he would have to further the letter on to our elected government, who had to answer. He would have no powers to change things the way I think Your king has, but he is a wise man and he would have wanted change. Our government are responsible to those who elected them, and I know that such a letter, unanswered in terms of positive action, probably would have cost them the nest election. We, the people, would elect a new goverment who listened.

    I sincerely hope that Your King is as wise as I judge our King to be.


    Tor Egelien

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