HLANE: Army Commander Jeffery Sipho Shabalala allegedly leaked King Mswati’s 53rd birthday celebration pictures, a private event that was held at Hlane Royal Residence on Monday, the State media was censored and restricted from covering the event.
An independent investigation by this Swaziland News uncovered electronic evidence and or WhatsApp messages sourced from the cellphone of the Army Commander through his Swazi Mobile number 7906 2401 substantiating that indeed, the Head of State Security leaked the pictures.
The evidence came in the midst of a high level and ongoing investigation by the Investigation Unit of this publication to gather more evidence after an audio where the Army Commander was plotting to assassinate the editor and other vocal MPs emerged.
The Whatsap messages of the Army Commander suggest that he started sending the pictures on or around 6pm on Monday 19th April 2021 to various cellphone numbers of colleagues within the Army and or State security agency, this was shortly after he came back from Hlane Royal Residence and his intentions of leaking the pictures could not be ascertained.
It has been disclosed that the Army Commander was among few security officers who were standing next to the King during the private celebration and the pictures sourced from his cellphone and other highly sensitive information suggest that he was standing few centimeters from the birthday cake when he allegedly took the pictures.
A questionnaire was sent to the Army Commander where he was asked to respond as to why he leaked the King’s pictures, however, he had not responded at the time of compiling this report.
Reached for comments, Sibongile Mazibuko, the President of the Ngwane National Liberatory Congress(NNLC) said the leaking of the pictures by the Army Commander was a clear indication that the King was not safe from those he thought would protect him, he urged him to surrender power to the people and facilitate democratic reforms. The NNLC President said history suggests that most dictators were assassinated by their trusted Generals adding that King Mswati must facilitate peaceful democratic reforms and hand over power to the people.
"Not long ago we read that the King has put his trust in the Army Commander, it seems the spear that will finish him will come the person he trusts the most. It would not be the first the first time, it happened in history, most dictators were killed by their trusted Generals, Shaka was killed by his bodyguard Mbompha", said the NNLC President.
On or around 08 April 2021, this publication exposed how King Mswati held a meeting with the then Deputy Army Commander Jeffery Shabalala where he indicated to him that the survival of the Throne was now in his hands. The meeting was also attended by Prince Shlangusemphi, the CEO of the Military Defence Council and Chief Mgwagwa Gamedze, the Chief Executive Officer(CEO) in the King's Office. This is contained in electronic and a series of audio recordings of State security meetings that further exposed how the Army Commander plotted to use security agents to assassinate the editor of this Swaziland News and two MPs being Mduduzi 'Bacede' Mabuza and Mduduzi 'Magawugawu' Simelane.
Army Commander Jeffery Shabalala Whatsap message where he leaked the King's pictures