NOKWANE: Lieutenant General Thembeni Magongo’s name was among the senior military officers who qualified to take over the position of Commander, however she was allegedly sidelined merely for being a woman.
The position of Army Commander became vacant after Jeffery Shabalala was allegedly forced to resign by King Mswati following an electronic evidence that was released by this Swaziland News.
But even before Shabalala’s resignation, senior army insiders had already informed this publication that three(3) star Lieutenant General Thembeni Magongo\'s name was among those who might take over the position, however, it later emerged that the authorities felt she might not be able to handle the current situation because of being a woman.
“She is one of the most trusted and loyal Generals who could lead the army but there were concerns within the royal circles that she might not be able to handle the current situation because she is a woman” ,said the army insider.
But sources very close to General Magongo told this publication that even though she was not appointed into the position, she was supportive of Lieutenant General Mashikilisane Fakudze, the newly appointed Acting Commander but remained against the divide and rule principle.
“She believes Shabalala’s downfall was triggered by the fact that he was no longer consulting her on certain things but had his own clique, she hopes this one will be different and work with his Deputies”, said the source within the Army.
Efforts to reach Tengetile Khumalo, the Umbutfo Eswatini Defense Force(UEDF) Spokesperson proved unsuccessful at the time of compiling this report.
Reached for comments, Colani Hlatswako, the One Billion Rising Africa Coordinator said women leadership remained the best decision the country can make under the current political situation.
“Having women in leadership is the best decision the country can make under the current political crisis. Women leadership has proved to be the best in conflict resolution and ensuring that everyone\'s best interest is taken good care of. Eswatini must invest more in women leadership in all structures. The lack of women in decision making positions contributed in the challenges we are facing” ,she said.
Worth-noting is that Correctional Services Commissioner General Phindile Dlamini became the first woman to be appointed as a head of His Majesty’s Correctional Services since the establishment of the law enforcement and State Security Agencies.
Army General Shabalala when announcing his resignation on Monday, thanked their Majesties for trusting him with the position even though there were others who qualified for it.
“Following what befell me recently, I have decided to plead with their Majesties that they allow me to resign and hand over this position to someone else,” he said.
Lieutenant General Thembeni Magongo.