The recent police brutality targeting independent journalists suggest that we must strengthen our collaborations with other international scribes to promote and advance the calls for a free and democratic society that will embrace the independence of the media.
Indeed, independent journalists around the world are always victims of oppressive governments but as the power of journalism suggests, we can use our pens to liberate ourselves and the over one million citizens from this oppressive eSwatini regime.
When National Commissioner of Police William Tsintsibala Dlamini threatened independent journalists saying police will deal with those who criticize King Mswati, I felt sorry for the old man, clearly, he doesn’t know or understand the power of journalism.
The truth of the matter is that we haven’t started to practice journalism in a manner that advance the calls for democratic reforms, but we can take that decision in the public interest and implement it without any problem.
Any government that empowers the police to violate human rights with impunity must be removed because the fundamental duty of a government is to protect the interests of the citizens not to harm them.
That we have a whole government and police service belonging to a person who was elevated to the status of god suggests that we are vulnerable to human rights violation hence we need a government of the people that will protect our rights as journalists and the citizens.
The police and those in power should understand that we haven’t started to practice hard core or vibrant journalism that seeks to liberate this country, for now we are levelling the political ground as part of the journey to drive the country to democratic reforms.
Tsintsibala must know that as independent journalists, it is part of our duties to advocate for a free and democratic society where citizens are treated with human dignity and once we analyze the situation in this country and conclude that people are ready for regime-change, we shall promote and advance that agenda without fear or favor.
After all, it is part of the role of the media to promote democracy and the police should never dream of interfering with our editorial independence, maybe, they can do it with the Times and Observer not here.
Perhaps, let me bring to the attention of Tsintsibala that some of us never surrendered our ability to think and analyze issues independently to those in power, hence the National Commissioner must not try to reduce us to the level of police officers whose duties revolves around taking orders.
It seems in a country ruled by low minded individuals who climbed the ladder within the police ranks through taking unlawful orders by killing political activists and torturing journalists, it is crime to be intelligent, they want to reduce all of us to their low level of thinking.
Why should we be forced to write articles in a manner that thrills the police and who told the authorities of the law enforcement agency that we are ready to reduce our thinking capability and be ‘low minded’ like Sam Mthembu who, as he approaches retirement in few months has developed desperation to please authorities so he can get a contract. Who told the police that they are intelligent enough to lecture us how we should write articles because the nature of their job suggests that they don’t use their brains but strictly take orders from Mswati?. How can a person whose mind and or ability to think independently was politically castrated have the ability to lecture us how we should write and even went to the extent of ordering that we submit our editorial policies, this is pure ‘nonsense’, it will never be tolerated.
But Tsintsibala and his team of corrupt senior officers like Mthembu is doing an impressive job by proving to the world how the police violates human rights in this country, they are actually collapsing this regime. Indeed, the principle of power drunk fools suggests that they may use force that might later turned to be a weapon of self-destruction.
It should be noted that that no single police officer, power drunk or not, can successfully fight vibrant journalism, because it goes with influencing the young generation, you kill or silence a journalist today, another one will emerge tomorrow.
Journalism can influence sanctions against the country and ground the operations of an oppressive government such that it cannot afford to pay even the salaries of the police officers who are now enemies of the people. Indeed, journalism can influence the masses to demand that the oppressor hand over power back to the people.
The influence is empowered by the truth that is planted slowly among the mind of the citizens,it germinates at the appropriate time resulting to the removal of oppressive governments.
This oppressive government has been surviving by depriving people access to information which has been proven to be a powerful tool of oppression. As the independent media, our role is to empower the people with information, they will then decide their political future.
Let me state clearly that we will expose and criticize anyone in this country from the King, the Queen, Prime Minister, Members of Parliament and powerful individuals, as long as the matters are of public interest.
Furthermore, we will write and address issues even those directed to the King, in a manner that demonstrate the seriousness of the matters under discussion. We cannot be taught by police officers how to address King Mswati, a corrupt, cruel and brutal dictator who forced over 700 000 citizens into poverty.
It must be made clear that Mswati wherever he is, dead or alive, will never be god and we don’t owe him anything to enjoy our freedom. But then, if William and his officers regard King Mswati as god, they must refrain from involving us in their ‘madness’.
It is therefore important for Tsintsibala and his team of corrupt officers who were assigned to conduct the crackdown on independent journalists to know exactly the power of journalism and that nothing can stop us from pushing a political mandate that seeks to benefit the people.
William Dlamini must conduct a research so he can understand how the lives of security bosses who violated human rights in other countries ended. The research will assist him to understand that some end up in jail, others get sanctioned by powerful countries or even jailed once the country attain democracy, he cannot torture, kill citizens and think it will end there.
However, through the threats from the National Commissioner directed to independent journalists, we hope the international community managed to get a clear picture of the hardships we go through in this country.
Personally, knowing that William enjoys relationships with ‘hit-men’ and drug dealers, as journalists, we must take the threats very seriously, he might not be talking about arrests but torture and assassination of independent journalists.
National Commissioner of Police William Dlamini