Mbongeni Mbingo finally confirms Victor Gamedze assaulted journalist



BY : ZWELI MARTIN DLAMINI

JOHANNESBURG:Mbongeni Mbingo, the Managing Editor of the Swazi Observer Group of Newspapers said has apologized for allowing the late powerful businessman Victor Gamedze to assault journalist Baphelele Kunene in front of him in the newsroom.

The editor confessed this after four years since the incident happened that left media practitioners questioning his credibility for allowing a man to assault a journalist in front of him with impunity. Many scribes were of the view that Mbingo was actually supposed to protect Kunene instead of allowing Gamedze to undermine the media in that manner. The late powerful and politically connected businessman allegedly assaulted a journalist Baphelele Kunene inside the Swazi Observer newsroom and the story was never published even though the matter was reported to the police in Mbabane. When probed for several matters, Mbingo finally disclosed that the businessman assaulted Kunene in front of him within the Swazi Observer newsroom.

“I am a professional and always take blame when I’m wrong. I even apologized to Baphelele for that incident” read a message from the editor. The editor later praised himself saying he was the kind of a leader who always take blame for things that went wrong, he however failed to mention that he had been evasive over the years regarding this matter that was reported even internationally. The Media Institute of Southern Africa in a report, the “Media Barometer”, also highlighted the incident but it was never reported in the country’s main newspapers. It is one of the highly sensitive incidents that saw media practitioners questioning the integrity and credibility of the Swaziland Editors Forum Chairman. It is alleged that Gamedze attacked Baphelele Kunene who was pursuing a story about the businessman inside the newspaper in what was the most embarrassing incidents in the history of the Swazi media. The businessman allegedly sent Mbingo to call the journalist and soon thereafter he slapped him in the face with impunity, as the matter was never taken further either by the media or the police. Kunene, shortly after being humiliated in front of his boss who failed to protect him resigned to join His Majesty’s Correctional Services.

On another note the businessman allegedly instructed Mbingo to facilitate the dismissal of the then Swazi Observer Sports editor Sabelo Ndzinisa after a misunderstanding over the publication of stories about Mbabane Swallows. Documents reveal the businessman, through the Premier League of Swaziland (PLS) to which he was the Chairman complained that Ndzinisa was not performing his duties well at PLS.

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