May I take this opportunity to welcome you to the frontline? In this column, I shall be undertaking national discourse on the state of the politics, the economy, the security and other related subjects of concern with regard to the wellbeing, development, security and stability of the Kingdom.
In short, the discourse of this column will be more concerned about the national interest. However, let me take the honor and privilege to begin my first encounter with you by reflecting on the lifestyle and the philosophy of King Sobhuza II.
Modelled his life
The nation has just silently observed a holiday marking the King’s birthday on July 22nd 2020. Who was His Majesty King Sobhuza II? How did the King live and modelled his life before the eyes of Emaswati?
King Sobhuza 11 the Master of diplomatic persuasion. My oral reference points in my quest to have an insight into King Sobhuza II leadership acme are late Prince Mfanasibili with whom I worked with to resolve the eviction impasse of at Macetjeni/Kamkhweli communities and Dr. Mathendele Dlamini with whom I worked at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as his political aide.
I learned from them that the King was an illustrious philosopher King whose legacy will remain ratified in the hearts and minds of not only emaSwati but also many who knew him worked and lived with him.
He believed in good neighborliness and non-interference in international affairs and sovereignty of other states.
He also pursued a non-alignment foreign policy. He encouraged racial harmony both in the country and in our neighbor states where racial discrimination has plugged the countries into civil wars.
The apartheid white minority in South Africa was at war with black majority liberation movements such as the ANC. The Portuguese were in the middle of a ranging civil war with Frelimo in Mozambique, King Sobhuza entranced the standard practice on including the white minority in the appointments for parliament and cabinet.
The king said the melody in the piano is only beautiful when both black and white keys are used to produce it. In the same way he encouraged tolerance of deferent views.
He warned against simplicity of adoption of cultures, ideologies and the way of life of other nations with put them to test to see if it would be good for us or not. Hence he advised emaSwati to adopt only what is good and viable for the domestic lifestyle from foreign cultures. He also believed in the power of information dissemination.
He believed in keeping the nation informed on all government activities, policies and projects in order to avoid speculation and distortion of facts.
Victim of insecurity
In this regard he distributed radio sets to all chiefdoms so people could access public information. This was the Kings public diplomacy strategy. He warned against the victim of insecurity.
Absence of brotherhood of mutual trust and full of suspicious and antagonism, he said. Each person regards the other as an enemy with whom he can communicate.
His powerful faith and philosophy of life was demonstrated in his famous declaration: I HAVE NO ENEMY, he who regards himself as my enemy cannot succeed because I will spare no efforts in getting closer and closer to him until there is some understanding, he concluded.
The King believed in diplomatic persuasion, dialogue and negotiation. Like that Chinese ancient general and strategists Sun Tzu, the King believed in subdued of enemies without a fight as a supreme of act of excellence.
These are some of the values and the principles and norms and leadership philosophy and way of lifestyle to which His majesty king Mswati III committed himself and the nation he assumed the responsibility to lead in 1986 at Somhlolo Stadium.
Ingwenyama Mswati III made that profound and solemn declaration and said, “I will follow the footsteps of King Sobhuza II. Now products of nativity, may wrongly conclude that the king was only making this declaration for himself and for his own sake.
No, it was an undertaking to which the nation on it’s entirely should commit. The king should not have made that commitment and his nation made another. We are together in it.
The Frontliner: By Alpheus Nxumalo