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Sotsha's term of office as PM was short lived

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LUSHIKISHINI - Sotsha Dlamini’s Cabinet term of office may have been short-lived, but the two years were marred by a political melodrama which is still seen as a transition period for the Swazi nation.

Dlamini was appointed head of government in 1986, just when the Liqoqo era came to an end and His Majesty King Mswati III had just ascended the throne.

Born in 1940, Sotsha became PM from October 6, 1986 to 12 July 1989. He had a mammoth task to lead government thro-ugh the healing process. However, the 60 days detention dealt an indelible mark on his entire term,

It was during his term that journalists, Mas-humi Thwala and Han-son Ngwenya were incarcerated at the Matsapha Central Prison only for writing stories that were considered to be critical of the regime.

Dlamini, a former police officer had been assistant commissioner when he was made head of government.

Though travelling overseas was uncommon during his term, Dlamini travelled the globe well, having been to China, the USA and many other countries representing His Majesty.

Today, Sotsha Dlamini says: "There is nothing to write about me. Just leave me to stay in the corner of the country at Lushiki-shini."

The former PM is not comfortable speaking abo-ut his term in office, insisting he does not have much to say.

"I’m just here at home with my family. I’m trying to make improvements to my yard and also repair my car," he said.

Two vans were found parked in his yard – a Nissan 1 Tonner bakkie and a Toyota Stallion.

There was also a tractor parked near the main house, also showing that the former PM does some farming.

He wore a safari suit that immediately brought the memories of the Sotsha we know - the strong willed man of the late 80s.

During the conversation, he pulled one cigarrete from a packet, lit it and puffed it to seemingly spice the conversation.


He insisted that he was a busy man now.

"One of the sources of income is my cattle, which I use to support my family. I don’t want to comment about the issue of the Circular No 1 because I may be quoted out of context. I was called by a certain reporter at one time who wanted to know if I had received it. I told him yes, but he later wrote that I had said it was too little. I did not like that," he said.

Dlamini and other former Prime Ministers were awarded E10 000 monthly grants by the circular last year.

His home is a typical Swazi homestead with one big house, rondavels and a kraal. It is surrounded by a maize field to show that the former PM is still a subsistence farmer of sorts.

After he was relieved of his duties in 1988, Dlamini considered himself still too young to retire from work and went to Swaziland Milling in Manzini where he was in charge of security. Though many felt this was a far cry from his previous employment, Dlamini was not moved, he carried on with his work until he retired and went to mind the chores of his family at Lushikishini.

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