Swazi PM's humanitarian award mystery

2010-10-01 22:00

kalahari.com

Johannesburg - The kingdom of Swaziland says its prime minister is receiving an award for "contributions to humankind" on Saturday, but the group apparently bestowing the honour appears to be little more than a Florida phone number and website.

The decision to recognise Prime Minister Barnabas Dlamini with a "World Citizen Award" has prompted outrage from human rights groups who have criticised the poor records on human rights and resistance to democratic reform in sub-Saharan Africa's last absolute monarchy.

The prime minister, who has recently gained attention for comments in the Swazi media that anti-government protesters should be tortured, already has flown to the Bahamas to pick up the award, his office said.

Chief government spokesperson Macanjana Motsa, who went along on the trip, did not respond to phone calls from The Associated Press or an e-mail asking whether the kingdom had taken any steps to determine the award's legitimacy or had been asked to pay any costs associated with the award.

"This award heralds his accomplishments and contributions to humankind," the spokesperson said in a statement that was released when Swaziland's Cabinet authorised the trip.

While Swaziland has a prime minister, King Mswati III wields most of the power in the impoverished, Aids-ravaged kingdom of 1 million surrounded on three sides by South Africa and on the fourth by Mozambique.

Pro-democracy activists say a monarchy is ill-equipped to combat the country's crises.

Amnesty International said earlier this month that "political activists, human rights defenders and trade unionists have been harassed, threatened, ill-treated and detained by the Swaziland police over the past year under draconian anti-terrorism legislation".

The World Citizen Award website also included a listed of trustees that a respected peace group said was used without its permission.

Questions raised

Richard C Allen, a lawyer for the World Peace Foundation, said in an email to the AP that the trustees list on the World Citizen Award site was "lifted without authorisation from the website of my client, the World Peace Foundation, a well-respected NGO in the US.

"Neither the World Peace Foundation nor its board members are connected with the 'World Citizen Award'."

The site also claims the World Citizen Award medal was designed in 2007 by Norwegian sculptor Gustav Vigeland, assisted by the Swedish engraver Erik Lindberg.

Vigeland, who designed the Nobel Peace medal, died in 1943.

Lindberg, who designed the Nobel physics, chemistry, medicine and literature medals, died in 1966.

The internet domain name for the World Citizen Award website is registered to a man named Rudolph Laroda.

A man identifying himself as Laroda's spokesperson declined to answer questions and a few hours later the list of trustees had disappeared from the website.

News reports in the Caribbean say questions have been raised for some time about the activities of a man using the names Rudolph King, Rudy King-Laroda and Kermit Rudolph Casito Laroda.

A report of a 2006 press conference he apparently held at a Bermuda hotel quoted him as announcing that retired South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Hollywood stars Halle Berry and Will Smith would be among luminaries coming to Bermuda for a "Global Vision Awards of Excellence" event.

Tourism officials and spokespeople for the celebrities involved denied any involvement, and the event was never held.

- AP

Read more on:    king mswati iii  |  swaziland  |  southern africa
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

 

Inside News24

 
 

ANCYL: Not voting would be blasphemy

Not voting in the forthcoming elections would be blasphemy, the ANCYL says in a statement commemorating the 50th anniversary of struggle icon Nelson Mandela's Rivonia trial speech.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Thursday Sir Lowry's Pass - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
  • Thursday Cape Town - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Buitengracht Street
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Waterkant Street
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

BlackBerry Curve 9360

The BlackBerry Curve 9360 smartphone comes preloaded with Blackberry OS7...

From R1595.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may be good at organising events but they do take their toll on your energy levels. You may need some time out today just to...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.