Swaziland Human Rights Network takes on Govt Spokesperson



BY : ZWELI MARTIN DLAMINI

MBABANE: : Goodwill Mathonsi, the newly elected Secretary General of the United Kingdom based Swaziland Human Rights Network has accused government Spokesperson Percy Simelane of defending dictatorship at the expense of the struggling poor citizens.

Mathonsi was responding to sentiments uttered by Simelane in an article published by this Swaziland News where the government Spokesperson accused the United Kingdom based Human Rights Organization of being influenced by what he described as ‘cheque book’ politics.

“Percy Simelane, the despairingly dull eSwatini/ Swaziland Government Press Secretary is a man out of his depth who makes up his bluster and hubris what he lacks in substance. He has his work cut out for him. After all, defending dictatorships is a job only the truly desperate or psychopathic takes up” said Mthonsi, in a article published recently in the organization’s website.

On around 19 January 2019, when responding to questions from this publication, Simelane accused the human rights activists of being influenced by ‘stomach politics’ to criticize the country, however Mathonsi said the government Spokesperson made these statements without substitutive evidence.

“It is difficult to respond to human rights issues raised in poorly informed anger rooted in low cost politics. eSwatini is yet to experience human rights issues experienced by other countries such as mass graves, torture cells, displacement, child soldiers and genocides” said the Government Spokesperson.

But Mathonsi, in his article labeled Simelane’s response as a defense to King Mswati,s dictatorship adding that it was difficult for the international community to get a true picture of what was happening in the country, saying the media was an extension of royalty.

“Public accountability is an alien concept to the government, a hallmark of dictatorship. Percy Simelane is the personified indictment of the eSwatini/ Swaziland political madness. Looting of state coffers is brazenly pursued by King Mswati” he said.

Mathonsi said it was surprising that Percy was failing to provide evidence to his wild claims that critics of the country are paid to criticize government and the King. “Percy doesn’t bother providing anything resembling evidence with any of his wild claims, because there isn’t any. His toolbox of deceptions consists of denials as the default. If that doesn’t fly, he resort desperately to trying to discredit whosoever is questioning eSwatini/ Swaziland government record” Mathonsi wrote.

On another note, the human rights organizations warned royalty, particularly King Mswati to refrain from his massive spending in the midst of the economic crisis in the country. Sifiso Dlamini, the newly elected Co-coordinator said it was surprising that the King was continuing with his lavish lifestyle despite available evidence that government was experiencing financial challenges.

The Swaziland Human Rights Network Co-coordinator further said their main concern was the silent human rights violations in the country adding that in as much as the country had not experienced genocide, eMaswati were dying in huge numbers in the various hospitals due to the lack of drugs and this, she said, amounts to a silent genocide.

She said this was influenced by the fact that millions of taxpayer’s money were funding the extravagant lifestyle of the royal family. Last year, the King shocked the international community when he appeared on his birthday celebration event wearing a diamond worth over E21million (about $1.6 milion) watch. As if that was not enough, some of his children were also spotted wearing their own watches worth over E250, 000.00(about $20,000.00).

“The health system has deteriorated and we will continue to put pressure on the government to improve funding for hospitals,” she said. The new Human Rights Network boss said during her term of office, she will work closely with other international organizations and put pressure to the King to stop the lavish lifestyle while the country suffers in poverty. Furthermore, the human rights activists said they would continue working with the Action for Southern Africa (ACTSA) and reach out to the European Union (EU) to create awareness on the human rights violations in the country.

Dlamini said the objectives of the Swaziland Human Rights Network UK was to raise awareness to the international community on human rights violations in the Kingdom of eSwatini.

“Excessive Police brutality used on peaceful human rights activists and the plight of woman where violence against them has been normalized. Deeply unequal cultural and religious norms, all this contributes to towards the daily discrimination faced by women” she said.