Ladies and gentlemen, welcome on-board. For your own safety, I recommend that you keep your seatbelts fastened for the duration of the flight; it is yet going to be a bumpy ride. It is clear, with all emaSwati on-board; Captain Ambrose Mandvulo Dlamini and his Cabin Crew (Cabinet Ministers) are apparently hell-bent on ‘hammering’ the kingdom of Eswatini’s Airbus A380-800 as it hitwhat seems to be a longest spell of turbulence.
Signs are clear – with the Sibusiso Barnabas Dlamini led government, we are from a little jolt to an all-out roller coaster ride with the Ambrose Mandvulo Dlamini led government.
Dark cumulonimbus clouds are gathering and I can tell you now, a cyclonic storm threat is looming large and the chances of passing through it are very slim.
Truth be told, the Captain and his Cabin Crew, have all themselves to blame for this brewing storm in the Kingdom of Eswatini and it is highly likely to uproot the deep roots of the monarchy. When they assumed office, the Captain and his Cabin Crew made us to believe that a new dawn was upon the kingdom of Eswatini.
In sweet voices, they made us believe that the previous government led by the late Barnabas Sibusiso Dlamini was the worst government ever in the history of Eswatini. Some in the lot of ministers hoodwinked emaSwati during the People’s Parliament – Sibaya which preceded the appointment of the Prime Minister into believing that they are crème de la crème.
They made emaSwati to buy into their story that they were coming with nothing else but good plans and strategies to revive the economy. In their public campaign which was shared by Attorney General Mashampu Khumalo, they bellowed at Sibaya while emaSwati were listening to their hypocritical sweet melody they sang at the time attentively.
It sounded as sweet music because we didn’t know who exactly they were and what were their intentions. But I don’t blame emaSwati for buying into their story because about 75 per cent are a learned bunch.
As a poor newsman, I didn’t disappoint myself but always went to Ludzidzini Royal Residence to listen to their submissions, as they struck me to be worth listening to.
In turns, they stood up and flattered us. But I have just discovered what a bumbling fool I was to waste my time and listened to them. I have come to realise that I was a lumbering fool for taking what they were saying for a word because of the damage they have done ever since coming into office.
Strikingly, these ladies and gentlemen have plunged this country to a worst crisis ever. They might fool themselves in believing that they are doing better than the previous government, but let me say this, what they have done so far is worse than what the Barnabas led government did.
There is one thing the late PM was good at doing – protecting the King and the royal family. Despite his well-documented administration blunders characterised by perceived corrupt predispositions, he never exposed His Majesty King Mswati III to such harshest criticism we have experienced recently.
He knew when to own up things exposing the king. He was quick to take the bull by the horns and address the nation whenever things were starting to go out of hand. Do you remember when the King came under attack for allegedly purchasing a revamped MD-87 private jet as a ’birthday present.’? The late PM came out bold to quash the rumour mongering.
That was a dirty game – politics. Disgusting as it was, but he was a gallant man who didn’t change his principles depending on whom he was dealing with and hence he was a man who passed over many storms in his time at the helm.
The late President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, once said “a man who changes his principles depending on whom he is dealing with is not a man who can lead a nation.” And that rings true to our current crop of Cabinet who had been consistent on backpedalling on what they promised us when campaigning for the ministerial posts, which they eventually descended on.
Hardly a month in office, the Captain and his Cabin Crew hastily called a press briefing and announced to the nation far-flung austerity measures to resuscitate the economy. The measures included but not limited to the suspension of buying new cars for the PM, his deputy and for Cabinet ministers, freezing of all tariffs for utilities, banning ministers and government officials from travelling in business or first class, scaling down procurement and suspending renting of cars to mention a few.
We all sang hallelujah to ‘messiah’, Prime Minister Ambrose Mandvulo Dlamini. We were made to believe that the Omnipotent God has given emaSwati the long awaited ‘Moses’ to usher the country out of its entire economic crisis. This was more so because even His Majesty the King told the nation that he was guided by tingelozi (angels) in appointing PM Mandvulo.
Apparently, when the King pronounced Mandvulo as the head of government, little did he know that he was appointing someone who will entice the nation to turn against himself (King). The king didn’t think that the PM and his crew were in a mission to turn the civil servants against himself by incessantly refusing them the Cost of Living Adjustment (CoLA).
The King never thought that he was appointing people who will not bother to advise him against purchasing over 150 supercars for royalty at such a wrong timing – when everyone is angry about the state of the economy. He didn’t know that government will agree to the purchasing of the cars while students are not given their meagre allowances.
He didn’t know that Cabinet will agree that sleek vehicles be purchased amidst street protests against what is seen as his extravagant spending and while emaSwati are dying at public health centres because there are no medical drugs. The King didn’t know that he was appointing a group of people who will easily continue globetrotting despite the dire state of the economy. But we cannot say anything because kwakhuluma tingelozi (angels said, so be it).
To add an icing on the cake, the same Cabinet has recently approved bread hike; living the poorest of the poor with noting to put on the table. They are literally left to die. As that is not enough, the same government is at logger heads with Eswatini Electricity Company (EEC) and Eswatini Energy Regulatory Authority (ESERA). The three are fighting over an electricity tariff increase which is not less than 10 per cent. EEC needs the hike and believe you me, it is not prepared to give up because doing so could cripple it going forward.
On top of the on the cards tariff increase, government would be implementing 15 per cent VAT, come April 1, 2020. And the Cabinet will continue squeezing the poorest of the poor through the hiking of taxes more so because they need more money to continue vagabonding and globetrotting (nekuyingayinga, banchulanchule, bantangante, behlebenyuka nemave kube sive sifa.)
But what should dawn in the minds of the Captain and his Cabin Crew is that no matter how polite a dog may be but when you push it to a tight comer, it resort to a violent defence mode and when it does, it bites viciously. And we have already seen the viciousness of all the oppressed – civil servants and tertiary students fighting with police. Government should understand that emaSwati are angry and no longer fear the police who are always ready to brutalise emaSwati. They should also understand that their strategy aimed at resuscitating the economy will never work without civil servants. To drive the strategy, they need the very same civil servants which they are treating like trash through the abuse of the courts.
Clearly, government and the entire emaSwati are at daggers drawn and we are seeing early signs of a bloody uprising, which might erupt during the times of our perceived messiahs. God forbid!
“And the Cabinet will continue squeezing the poorest of the poor through the hiking of taxes more so because they need more money to continue vagabonding and globetrotting (nekuyingayinga, banchulanchule, bantangante, behlebenyuka nemave kube sive sifa.)