Nkululeko Gama, the former Swazi Observer journalist who now works as a police officer is celebrating his birthday today(Thursday), this article is meant to honour him for his contribution in promoting media freedom.
When the judicial crisis erupted in 2014, resulting to the arrest of Nation Magazine editor Bheki Makhubu, Nkululeko Gama was among the few journalists who took on the then Chief Justice Michael Ramodibedi and his corrupt judicial syndicate.
Gama, together with his editor, were subsequently summoned by the Chief Justice in his Chambers, editor Mbongeni Mbingo shifted the blame to the journalist after the CJ threatened to issue a warrant of arrest against them.
But Gama stood firmly, he went on to write more articles, exposing the judicial syndicate.
During a media workshop for investigative journalists held in Mbabane, Andrew Forest, the editor of AmaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism recognized the Swazi Observer as the only media entity that reported widely and exposed the judicial crisis while editor Bheki Makhubu was behind bars.
Editor Andrew Forest was also my Supervisor when I was doing a journalism internship with AmaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism in South Africa, he trained many journalists in eSwatini.
Now, Nkululeko Gama is a police officer and perhaps, some people ask themselves why is the police officer criticizing the Government openly and speaking against injustices in online platforms.
Nkululeko Gama has always been like this when he was working as a journalist, he has been exposing injustices against the people.
After meeting the Chief Justice who threatened him, he came to my office in Mbabane to share the harassment he went through within the Chambers High Court but vowed to continue exposing CJ Michael Ramodibedi.
When Government was killing civilians in 2021, Nkululeko Gama was vocal on social media speaking against the atrocities committed by the Government, he was subsequently summoned to the Police Headquarters for questioning.
The Police Intelligence Unit was ordered to monitor him but couldn’t find anything.
Nkululeko is a very respectful police officer, even in the media, he was respecting other journalists but he does not take nonsense.
Perhaps, it is important to state that after he successfully exposed the judicial crisis, Gama was frustrated, some of his stories were blocked by his editor and he subsequently resigned to join the police service.
I am sure the regime conducted its intelligence well, it’s in its best interest to keep Nkululeko Gama as a police officer, if he can bounce back to the media at this time, his presence might be felt.
We have very few journalists of Gama’s calibre in the media, exposing and removing the then powerful Chief Justice Michael Ramodibedi through the power of the pen required bravery.
Happy birthday to the brave journalist who released Nation Magazine editor Bheki Makhubu through the power of the pen.
Words cannot describe what you did for this country and you shall always be respected by all open minded journalists.
Police officer Nkululeko Gama.