When King Mswati appointed Ambrose Mandvulo Dlamini as Prime Minister of eSwatini, I am one of the first people whom he contacted while I was in exile, he assured me that “it was now safe for me to come back home”.
It is very important for Acting Government Spokesperson Sabelo Dlamini to conduct a research before issuing fabricated press statements as a desperate measure to mislead the world regarding the persecution of independent journalists in the country, he might be too young in politics to make sense of the issues around me. After our conversation with the Prime Minister, I went to Department of Home Affairs in South Africa and inform them that it was now safe for me to go back home and the officer indicated to me that since my asylum application was at an advanced stage, their systems does not allow ‘’cancellation” but due to the phase in which the application is at, it would be recorded under “rejected applications” so I can be able to cross the border.
Perhaps, Deputy Commissioner Sam Mthembu, who arrogantly told me during the torturing that he knows everything about me will learn from this article that he doesn’t deserve to a police officer, not to mention to be part of the country’s intelligence if he doesn’t know how I came back from exile, he lacks intelligence must retire as soon as possible.
When I arrived in the country on or around the 6th November 2018, dishonorable Senator Isaac Magagula could not sleep, he woke up early in the morning the following day. Like a pupil who has been eagerly waiting to embark in a trip for the first time, Isaac rushed to the police headquarters to convince the police Executive Command that I should be arrested, however, he was not entertained as they were at loggerheads with the current National Commissioner, William Dlamini after Magagula tried to falsely implicate him in the finger prints scandal. Furthermore, Magagula was ignored by Tsintsibala because he was lobbying for Sam Mthembu or Richard Mngomezulu to take over as National Commissioner so that he can continue having influence over the police service. Senator Magagula saw me as a threat to his corrupt activities after I exposed how he promised to employ relatives of Members of Parliament (MPs) in the police service when campaigning for the election of his wife Leckina Magagula into Senate.
The current National Commissioner William Dlamini who was acting at the time then invited me into a meeting that was also attended by Deputy Commissioners Richard Mngomezulu, Sam Mthembu and Lydia Dlamini. When I arrived at the Police Headquarters, I was able to see with my own eyes that indeed my sources were correct that Isaac locked National Commissioner’s office and refused to hand over keys to Tsintsibala, their tension had reached a boiling point.
It should be noted that in his own words, William Dlamini said the purpose of the meeting was to welcome me back home and further to apologize on behalf of the police service regarding the persecution I suffered in the hands of Isaac Magagula, he then proposed another meeting with Senator Magagula. The National Commissioner further praised my writing skills but politely asked that I should be lenient with the King and refrain from criticizing him, at first, it was a formal engagement with no threats and intimidation.
But then, in March 2019, Prime Minister Ambrose Dlamini invited me into a private meeting at the Cabinet offices, he said since he was always surrounded by escorts and many people in public places, it would be safe for us to meet at night. When I arrived at the Cabinet offices around 8pm, it transpired that the PM had a short meeting with an influential Principal Secretary whose name is known to me. Thereafter, when the Principal Secretary came out, we had a brief chat while the head of security was inside the office to inform the Prime Minister that I had arrived, the PS who was looking shocked even asked me “Kani nawe uyefika lana” and I said yes, due to the nature of my job, I interact with different people.
Indeed, after a salute, the head of security allowed me inside “utsi umuntfu lomdzala sewungangena Nkhosi”, the meeting was private, and it was the Prime Minister and I, no member of the security team was allowed.
The PM said he was elated that I came back alive despite the challenges I went through for reporting the truth, and he assured me of his full support. But then, he advised me to always report positively about the Tinkhundla system stating that by so doing it would be easier for him to influence government and private companies to support the Swaziland News so I can have lots of money. He politely asked that I refrain from criticizing the King saying that might compromise his efforts to assist me.
I told the PM that it would be difficult for me to compromise my principles and beliefs about the system merely because I know him, and I remember very well advising him to always welcome criticism from me in his capacity as the head of government. I told him we can talk privately but he shouldn’t expect me to be soft on this government because my duty as a journalist is to hold those in power accountable.
As I continue publishing critical articles about the regime, the National Commissioner William Dlamini called me saying the PM was unhappy with some of my articles and I asked the police boss why Mandvulo was not communicating that directly to me as he has my number. I have evidence of what I am talking about and would challenge Acting Government Spokesperson Sabelo Dlamini to dispute this. Perhaps that evidence of how the regime attempted to capture me may also be useful in appropriate platforms. Luckly, the police failed to grab my main laptop when they raided my home, the strategy of the regime was to take all my gadgets to destroy proof, so that they can ‘climb’ the mountain and tell anyone who care to listen that I don’t have evidence to substintiate my articles.
For now, let me conclude by warning this Cabinet to be careful as they try to mislead the world about the persecution of independent journalists in the country, many attempts have been made to stop me from being critical about the system before the police were commanded to torture me. I have held meeting with high-profile people even within the royal family, but I maintained that it’s hard for me to ditch the over 700 000 people who are suffering due to poverty.
About 70% of the population is living below the poverty line because of leadership crisis in this country and the regime is expecting us to be silent about it. I embarked on this journey to fight for the truth not because I was hungry, my companies were feeding me and my family well, and hence no amount of money can buy me. I am not like the captured journalists who accept bribes from corrupt syndicates and drug Kingpins. I am a Dlamini, my grandfather Prince Mgungu who raised me was close to the royal family, but I cannot be soft to a regime that oppresses the people. I will fight until my last breathe for the liberation of the oppressed nation. The Prime Minister and his Cabinet must understand that it is not about me now, but I am fighting for all of us.
In the next publication, I will write and reveal discussions of a private meeting I had with a Prince who said he was sent by the King to engage me, it would be a very interesting read.
Prime Minister Ambrose Dlamini