MBABANE: Zweli Martin Dlamini, the editor of the Swaziland News alleged that he has been consistently harassed by Taiwan and the eSwatini Government for meeting the then Chinese Ambassador Lin Songtian who asked him to compile and publish a Magazine in his online newspaper.
Dlamini said the harassment has been going on for months and as a result he has reported it to other international media organisations because he does not understand why Taiwan and the Government of eSwatini want to involve him in their diplomatic wars with China adding that he has been receiving calls from people who posed as journalists and investigators demanding answers on his 'relationship' with China. He said those people who pose as journalists, asked him questions and after responding, they disappear hence he decided to go public and make their work easier because he had nothing to hide.
“It’s true that I held a meeting with Lin Songtian, the then Chinese Ambassador to the Republic of South Africa and he proposed that we compile a Magazine that sought to promote diplomatic relations between China and the Kingdom of eSwatini, China paid R290,000.00 for that that project including advertorial costs.Even the eSwatini Government through Central Bank of Swaziland paid for adverts, this is a publication and we don't expect Taiwan and the Government to make their enemies our enemies, we are independent. It’s not a secret that we received money from the Chinese Government for compiling a Magazine and providing advertorials, we are yet to do more business with them without compromising our editorial policy", he said.
Questions were sent to Government Spokesperson Sabelo Dlamini, however, he had not responded at the time of compiling this report.
The editor said those PR agents and investigators who were hired by the Government to investigate and try to discredit him must forget because he would account for every transaction especially if it’s money he worked for.
The editor said the harassment started in eSwatini when police raided his home and grabbed some of the documents that were used to compile the Magazine after receiving information that he held a meeting with the Ambassador.
“In fact I am not the kind of a person who can be easily discredited because I subscribe to transparency. It is also wrong for the Taiwanese Ambassador to collude with the eSwatini Government this harassment because I also held meetings with him where he wanted space in our newspaper to publish social projects including Taiwan donations to eSwatini. We even reached a point where we documented the proposal, so just because they hate China, they want everyone to be hostile”, said the editor.
Efforts were made to contact the Taiwan Ambassador Jeremy Liang, however, he said his line was not clear and could not answer the questions even when asked several times.
Ex- Chinese Ambassador to South Africa Lin Songtian and Swaziland News editor Zweli Martin Dlamini