As the contract of Percy Simelane nearly comes to an end, the scramble for the position of Government Spokesperson by editors and the political opportunism that manifest behind the scenes should worry us as the country.
Perhaps, one should highlight the significance of this position in the political and media landscape both locally and internationally, and how it would be suicidal for the new Cabinet to engage an inexperienced Government Spokesperson. The country is now experiencing social and economic challenges that might soon manifest into a political crisis and as the independent media both locally and internationally, we will hold government accountable for this mess. This means as the media, we will consistently seek answers from Government and we need a person who will respond to questions on informed perspective like Percy Simelane, our intention is not to destroy this country but to disseminate balanced information in the interest of the public. Being a Government Spokesperson here in eSwatini means you speak on behalf of the King, Government and the Nation at large, this is one of the most powerful position that requires a person with an intelligent mind. As a journalist, who sometimes criticize government and the King in the interest of the public, I always appreciate how Percy Simelane respond in defense, his responses always challenge a scribe to make sure the facts are in order before seeking comments from the Government Spokesperson. Journalists, union leaders, political activists and even Members of Parliament(MPs) who fail to do their job will always be intimidated by Percy’s responses, they always accuse him of being aggressive when responding to issues of National importance. But then, what should be understood here is that a State Spokesperson always consults with superiors and make analyses of any situation before releasing a statement that reflects the true position of the country. Furthermore, people should understand that there is no romance in heated arguments, particularly when the country is facing serious strikes. Percy Simelane is never intimidated by hard questions-predominantly from this Swaziland News and other international media organizations, most of the time he responds in defense of the government and the King, after all, it’s his job.
Our job is to hold government and those in power accountable to the people and one of the duties of a Government Spokesperson is to defend and protect the image of the country. Therefore, journalists and MPs should play their oversight role and allow Percy Simelane to execute his duties as per the mandate of his office.
It is very important to understand and allow the Government Spokesperson to do his job instead of attempting to regulate his mind.
Prime Minister Ambrose Mandvulo Dlamini should consider re-engaging Simelane while another government Spokesperson is being mentored. But this doesn’t mean, no Swazi can do better than Percy, the main problem is that as a country we don’t train the youth to become future leaders, that’s why we will find ourselves having to re-engage retired individuals. Furthermore, we have a serious problem of opportunism and bad-mouthing within the media, editors with political ambitions long adopted a tendency to influence dismissals of high-profile political figures so they can take over their positions. These days Percy Simelane is labelled by the media as a person whose responses on national issues cause tensions in the country, but these editors failed to declare that some of them are vying for his position. Well, this is what they are used to, destroying other people’s reputation in order to get what they want even if it calls disregarding the fundamental values and principles of journalism.
Prime Minister Ambrose Mandvulo Dlamini should know that if he allows these corrupt individuals to influence the removal of Percy for their own agendas, one day they will do the same to him. Any form of injustice against citizens regardless of status in society should be discouraged, people must declare their interests.
Editors must promote transparency and accountability in the recruitments of these positions instead of using their corrupt connections to plot the downfall of other public figures for their own benefit.
It would be good to have a new government Spokesperson but let’s engage an independent minded person who will not be attached to any of the different political and media syndicates. It should be noted that this country might suffer irreparable harm should these opportunists take over the communications department of this Kingdom. The media is in a mess because of these opportunists and now they are vying to destroy the communication office of our country.
Government Spokesperson Percy Simelane