NHLANGANO: Lisa Peterson the Ambassador of the United States of America (USA) to the Kingdom of eSwatini has been placed under surveillance by the Police Intelligence Unit after she delivered a critical speech about King Mswati’s lavish lifestyle.
Reached for comments by this Swaziland News, Eswatini Police Spokesperson Superintendent Phindile Vilakati said it was part of the Intelligence Unit duties to gather information on what was happening in the country adding that they normally attend eventsto collect data for filing purposes. Vilakati was responding to questions from this publication after she was asked why intelligence officers were taking pictures of the Ambassador when delivering her speech during an event on Friday at the Nhlangano Library. The Intelligence Officers who posed as journalists were seen keeping an eye on the Ambassador and monitoring her movements after delivered a speech highly critical of the Monarch. However, the core message of her sentiments was censored in the eSwatini two newspapers.
“We go to any gathering and collect information, it’s not like were only targeting the American Ambassador. We have been doing this for a long time, collecting information for our files. The reason we are now using digital tools is that everyone seems to be embracing the new era of technology” said the Police Spokesperson.
Information gathered suggests that the police spies were not only monitoring the US envoy but independent journalists, union leaders and members of the progressives. But the interest of the police to the USA Ambassador intensified after she came hard on King Mswati for the continuous expenditure particularly on the delivery of BMWs and Rolls Royce cars to the royalty.
“ It is exceedingly difficult for development partners to continue to advocate for assistance to eSwatini when such profligate spending, or suspicious giving, is taking place. Would King Sobhuza have made such a lavish purchase? We know from his words that he saw such “attachment to luxury” as the pitfall for empires” she said.
Former Chief Executive Officer(CEO) in the King’s Office now Shiselweni Regional Administrator Vincent Mhlanga later told the Swazi Observer, a newspaper owned by the King, that he was angered by the Ambassadors speech.
“Going forward, when she comes to the region for any activity or event, we need to first know what she will say” the RA was quoted by the Observer.
The Regional Administrator said it was unfortunate that he was not present when the Ambassador made these sentiments, otherwise, he could have stopped her from continuing with the speech.
“If I was present, I could have intervened and told her that she was offside, it’s unfortunate that I was not there to reign on her. We have learnt a lesson and now each time she comes in the region she would have to declare what she has to offer. We can’t allow her to push any political agenda in function we thought are to capacitate the youth, doing so is dangerous” he said.
US Ambassador to Eswatini Lisa Peterson