As I write this article, I am wondering why former National Commissioner Senator Isaac Magagula is sensitive to criticism by the media despite holding a public office.
The media reported about alleged corruption within the Army during the time of Army Commander Prince Sobantu but he never unleashed soldiers to harass journalists and stop them from publishing critical articles.
One day, we were at Lozitha Palace to cover an event where King Mswati was meeting new diplomats.
While waiting for the King, Prince Sobantu was chatting with journalists laughing despite the fact that he was in the newspapers in those days,some senior officers were accused of colluding with the then Army Commander in taking bribes from aspiring soldiers.
But Prince Sobantu was always cool when responding to journalists, he even joked with me at Lozitha Palace asking if I was not considering dropping the camera, leave journalism, and join the army.
The Prince said, “Manje ye-Zweli waphekukhukhumba ne-macamera lamakhulu,ngicabanga kukutsatsa ngikumikise eMbuluzi wena, bontsanga yakho baseMbuluzi”.
The journalists from the Swazi Observer and eSwatini TV laughed as we chat with the Army Commander despite the fact that I had previously exposed him.
I am not suggesting that Prince Sobantu was an ‘Angel’, he was in charge of the Army and could have commanded some soldiers to harass some of us but he never did that.
True leaders understand that the role of journalists is to hold them accountable, they don’t abuse their powers just to show us how powerful they are.
But former Police National Commissioner Isaac Magagula was different, once we published stories about him or the police, he would send officers to harass us in the newsroom.
One day I wrote an article for the Sunday Observer questioning corruption, nepotism and or the manner in which police officers were promoted, Isaac Magagula summoned me to the Police Headquarters.
During the meeting that was attended by the Police Spokesperson Wendy Hleta, the then Police Chief Isaac Magagula reminded me to stop referring to him as “Commissioner” in my writings but “National Commissioner”.
The then Police Chief said, “Lesigaba sebu-National Commissioner samenyetelwa lilanga libalele,ngitsi nje angikusho loko”.
Magagula didn’t stop there, when I came back from South Africa in November 2018, he rushed to the Police Headquarters early in the morning, trying to influence the then Acting National Commissioner William Tsintsibala Dlamini to arrest me.
National Commissioner William Tsintsibala Dlamini refused, instead he organized a meeting between me and Isaac Magagula that was held at the police Headquarters.
During the meeting, the National Commissioner politely asked that I must not be too critical on Isaac Magagula as he was too emotional.
I was not surprised when Senator Magagula asked Prime Minister Cleopas Dlamini to deal with pro-democracy activists, he is, and remains a political bully.
Senator Magagula was eager to see me arrested, in fact I later learned that I was served by the then Prime Minister Ambrose Mandvulo Dlamini and some top officials within the army who were aware of Magagula’s corrupt practices.
The former National Commissioner allegedly took a bribe from senior police officers who wanted to be deployed as bodyguards for the the late Prime Minister Ambrose Mandvulo Dlamini.
One Station Commander is in a financial crisis, he is still paying a loan even today after Isaac disappeared with the money and failed to deploy him to the Prime Minister’s office.
Despite all the corrupt practices, Isaac Magagula wanted the media to keep quiet and worship him just because he was in charge of police officers who are carrying guns.
The former National Commissioner then sent top detectives from the Police Intelligence Unit led by Deputy Commissioner Richard Mngomezulu who asked to meet me at Gables, the detectives asked me to share information that I knew about Isaac Magagula, again the detectives asked me not to criticize Magagula.
During the meeting, one Assistant Commissioner Bizzah Dlamini told me that Isaac Magagula was still a police officer deployed in Parliament hence I must respect him.
It’s very surprising that Senator Isaac Magagula is always ambitious for top positions but he doesn’t want to be questioned by the media on allegations of corruption.
I am still wondering why Isaac Magagula is always sensitive to the media.
The Senator must learn from Prince Sobantu who is not an enemy of the media, it is the duty of journalists to report and inform on issues of public interest.
It’s simple, if Isaac Magagula is corrupt and not willing to be questioned by the media, he must decline when Mswati appoints him into a public office.
Former Army Commander Stanley Sobantu Dlamini.