MBABANE: Swazi Observer Managing Editor Mbongeni Mbingo has questioned the intentions of United States Ambassador to Eswatini Lisa Peterson who organized a discussion with editors and subsequently used that opportunity to criticize King Mswati on extravagant spending particularly the purchasing of Rolls Royce.
In an article published on Tuesday, 28 July 2020, the editor who earns over E50,000.00 salary paid directly by a royalty-controlled company, Tibiyo TakaNgwane came hard on the US Envoy for organizing the discussion saying, clearly, Peterson had hidden intentions.
“The Ambassador knew fully well what she was trying to achieve when she sprang this interview on the media, for this interview had been scripted from start to finish and editors had already presented their three questions which they were told to submit in advance. It was at the end of the show when editors had asked their questions, that she ceased the opportunity to attack the Head of State” said the editor.
Royal insiders told this publication that Mbingo, the editor of royal owned Swazi Observer was under pressure from the authorities for being part of the discussion where King Mswati was heavily criticized.
“When he was employed, he pledged to defend the King and the Tinkhundla system and we are surprised that he was part of this discussion where the Head of State was attacked, clearly this might put him in big trouble with BakaNgwane” said the insider.
Alpheus Nxumalo, the then Swazi Obsever Managing Director confirmed to this Swaziland News that he was invited for a dinner at Royal Swazi by Tibiyo TakaNgwane MD Absalom Themba Dlamini where he was ordered to employ Mbingo.
Despite international reports from media organizations like the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) highlighting the plight of independent journalists in Eswatini, Mbingo in his capacity as Chairman of the Editors Forum has been defending the State, implying that journalists are free in Eswatini. On or around May 2020 questionable statements previously made by the Editors Forum were used as reference by Justice Minister Pholile Shakantu to try and mislead the world that the media was free in Eswatini.
Ambassador Lisa Peterson openly mentioned that she wondered why the taxpayers’ money from US citizens is used to help this country when it’s clear that the King had a lot of money.
“I was very mad when the Royal family spent millions on sleek wheels. I have spoken to the king in private about this issue. I have also publicly made statements where I raised my concerns. I do not see the reason for the king\'s children to go to Disney world during the time of drought. I have also seen them going to the United Nation’s General Assembly, and I failedto understand that. For the past fifteenth years, the United States government has pumped in over $0.5 billion to Eswatini. Why are our taxes coming to Eswatini when someone clearly has a lot of money and he doesn’t know what to do with his money,” saidAmbassadorPeterson.
But Mbongeni Mbingo, the Chairman of the Eswatini Editors Forum said the sentiments of the Ambassador were disappointing.
“For a diplomat to express herself in public in the manner that she has, is not only rude and ill-mannered but also in extreme poor taste” said the editor.
Speaking to this Swaziland Newsin an earlier interview, Wandile Dludlu, the Secretary General of the People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO) said sanctions against the Royal family is the only solution towards ending the extravagant Royal expenditure.
“After condemning, the United States will sign a new deal pumping millions of United States taxpayer’s monies to various basic services to the Eswatini government. Let the United States government sanction the Royal family as well as top government executives who fly to the Disney world, Las Vegas and Dubai. PUDEMO calls on smart targeted sanctions on the Royal family and the Prime Minister,” Dludlu said.
An article published by Swazi Observer editor Mbongeni Mbingo