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OPINION:Prime Minister Russell Mmiso Dlamini can read the book but will never be like the late PM Barnabas,even Prince Mbilini and AT created their own legacy.

Thursday, 4th January, 2024

Prince Mbilini,the then Prime Minister(PM) was known for his tribalistic statement “Basibangisa Bukhosi betfu”, he was responding to journalists during a press conference amid protests that were threatening the Tinkhundla system of Governance and the institution of the Monarchy.

Prince Mbilini was the grandson of King Mswati II and the son to Prince Heleba, he was born from the powerful Hhohho Royal Kraal and was influencial within the royal circles.

But apart from his tribalistic statement, Prince Mbilini once increased salaries for civil servants without being forced through protests or negotiations with trade unions and when asked he said; “Kumele sitsi sikhuluma sibe sihlafu-hlafuna boNkhosi”.

Prince Mbilini was succeeded by Prime Minister Dr. Sibusiso Barnabas Dlamini in 1996 and Barnabas came with his own style of leadership.

Barnabas was determined to suppress dissenting views and went as far as unleashing the police to harass even Tinkhundla loyalists whom he perceived as his political enemies.

I was very young when Barnabas took over in 1996 but I remember the King addressing the Nation on radio when dismissing Prince Mbilini and introducing Barnabas, the King said;

“Ngoba sekuyabonakala kutsi nemadvolo akasavumi kuMkhulu sewudzinga kuphumutwa”.

Barnabas became popular but as the political climate changed,he was dismissed by the King in 2003 through the then Attorney General(AG) now Supreme Court Judge Prince Senzangakhona Phesheya Dlamini.

Prince Senzangakhona who is born from King Sobhuza’s Prince Mgunudvu senior royal household sent a Short Message Service(SMS) to Barnabas, informing him about the dismissal.

Prime Minister Barnabas was dismissed after messing-up the whole country and institutions of the State.

Judges of the Supreme Court resigned after Barnabas addressed a press conference telling the Judges that Government won’t respect a court order that declared the eviction of Macetjeni and KaMkweli residents in the Lubombo region unlawful.

The residents were evicted after refusing to accept Prince Maguga as their Chief, two Chiefs Mliba Fakudze and Mtfuso Dlamini were dethroned by Mswati and his brother Prince Maguga.

Now, Prime Minister Russell Mmiso Dlamini disclosed that, he was reading a book about the late PM Barnabas Dlamini, it might be a political suicide for Russell to imitate Barnabas instead of creating his own legacy.

I personally met Prime Minister Barnabas Dlamini on numerous occasions during press conferences for editors under the Eswatini Editors Forum(EEF),I had the opportunity to ask him hard questions.

Barnabas had a very unique and a ‘smiling devil’ character,he would smile in your presence while plotting evil against you.

The late PM captured the media,private sector, Parliament and went on to influence the appointment of Chief Justice(CJ) Michael Ramodibedi who was on his pocket until a fallout.

Barnabas in his second term succeeded Prime Minister Absalom Themba Dlamini who restored the rule of law and the country’s international image after the November 28 statement that triggered a judicial crisis.

Prime Minister Absalom Themba Dlamini tried to professionalize the operations of Government, even dismissed police officer would successfully appeal to him as the Minister of Police and be reiterated if the PM was convinced that the officer was unfairly dismissed.

When Barnabas bounced back as the PM, he was like a wounded snake, he tried to arrest Prince Senzangakhona Phesheya Dlamini and then Foreign Affairs Minister Lutfo Dlamini.

But he failed because the Prince and the former Minister were linked to a powerful royal faction.

Prime Minister Russell Mmiso Dlamini will never be Barnabas, he can try but the situation is no longer conducive for dictatorship.

Unlike before, it’s no longer possible to kill political activists and harass powerless Tinkhundla loyalists without international consequences, the media will expose that and Civil Service Commission(CSC) Simanga Mamba and Chief Justice Bheki Maphalala know better.

PM Russell Dlamini is facing a huge task of convincing the international community after the death of prominent human rights lawyer Thulani Rudolf Maseko.

Once the PM’s name make it to the list of targeted sanctions,perhaps he will understand the globalization of politics because he won’t be able to travel to other countries to represent King Mswati or the Government.

The independent media is here to monitor the PM and inform the world,even if he can try to imitate the life of Barnabas Dlamini,the media will hold him accountable.

In conclusion, it is important to remind Prime Minister Russell Dlamini that, the real Government under the Tinkhundla system is headquartered at Lozitha Palace where he was given the list of Cabinet Ministers, the Hospital Hill Cabinet is just implementing decisions of the Lozitha ‘supreme Lozitha Government’

The centre of power is at Lozitha Palace and of course,capitalists like Finance Minister Neal Rijikernberg who are in business partnership with the King have influence.

Prime Minister Russell Mmiso Dlamini will have to balance these interests to survive in his political career, imitating Barnabas won’t be an insurance for his political career.

In this era of online media that cannot be shutdown or censored by the Government, some of us wish Barnabas was alive, we would have long erased the norm suggesting that,he was untouchable and cannot be criticized.


OPINION:Prime Minister Russell Mmiso Dlamini can read the book but will never be like the late PM Barnabas,even Prince Mbilini and AT created their own legacy.
Prime Minister Russell Dlamini(pic: Wikipedia).