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Inyatsi’s Michello Shakantu must leave Times alone, embrace competition.

Friday, 29th July, 2022





Inyatsi Director Michello Shakantu is power drunk and continues to be a serious problem in this country that needs to be fixed as a matter of urgency.

Firstly, Michello Shakantu systematically penetrated the Times of eSwatini by planting journalists whom he used as his spies against competitors.

Thereafter, he divided the human resources of the media company by offering huge monies to journalists in order to join his newly established newspaper that is failing to attract the attention of Swazis.

Perhaps, it might be a subject for another day, we will soon see the journalists who joined Shakantu’s media company jobless.

Some employees within his private clinics and other companies are already complaining of unfair labour practices including underpayments.

Now, Shakantu is releasing endless press statements trying to attack the Times because his desire is to grab all institutions and companies in this country that he perceives as competitors.

The Times of eSwatini is the oldest newspaper in the country and Shakantu thought by grabbing the human resources, it would just collapse, now he is frustrated.

As a Consultant for the Media Institution for Southern Africa(MISA), a regional media organization that promotes media freedom and pluralism, I am getting worried when I see a corrupt businessman systematically attacking a privately owned newspaper.

We have no problem with Shakantu establishing a newspaper because we want people to enjoy the diversity of views to enhance a political discourse, social and economic development.

It is for this reason, as the editor of this Swaziland News, I wrote an article and interviewed MISA's Head Office in Zimbabwe welcoming the establishment of the Eswatini Financial Times even though I was fully aware that it was linked to Michello Shakantu.

We are now getting worried when Shakantu starts attacking the Times unjustly because the Times is, and remains, one of the pillars or face of the eSwatini media.

Shakantu is corrupt to the core, he strives through corrupt dealings and now, he is struggling to run his media company and has resorted to attacking the Times.

The Times is a publication, where it has blundered it must be criticized fairly, I sometimes criticize it as well but with an intention to enhance or influence media freedom and vibrant journalism.

But again, I cannot fold my arms and watch a corrupt businessman penetrating the Times with an intention to destroy our country because in the media, we differ and compete for stories but our main interest is the country.

Shakantu’s press statement when read in its entire context suggests that Inyatsi has business issues with the Director of the Times and we cannot allow a corrupt businessman to drag the media into his business wars.

It is a known fact that Michello Shakantu is in the process of grabbing all businesses these days, he allegedly tried to buy one of the online publications with a mere seven hundred thousand Rands(R700,000.00) so that he could manipulate public opinion.

After stealing public funds through tenders, Shakantu is now using his power to grab private companies and public resources, we will defend our country until the last breathe Mr Shakantu.

Media companies compete with quality and credible stories Mr Shakantu, tell your journalists to produce quality news so that your publication can attract the attention of the readers.

The media is the Fourth Estate that represents the people, it is the voice of the masses and therefore, we cannot allow it to be captured by a corrupt businessman.

I wonder what came to the mind of Shakantu when he established a newspaper, how can you grab private companies and capture almost all institutions of the State including the King and then aspire to run a publication?

The mere fact that you control almost everything suggests that your journalists are compromised, they can’t write or publish critical articles about Inyatsi, King Mswati, judiciary where your wife is a Minister, health, corruption in the mining industry, Cabinet, Parliament etc.

The basic responsibility of the media is to hold those in power accountable, so if you hold and control both political power, institution of the Monarchy and business, just forget about running a publication, you will end-up using money to publish endless press statements like Michello Shakantu.

This corrupt businessman must stop interfering with the independence of the media by attacking the Times both directly and indirectly.

The media is a networked institution, we want more credible newspapers to be stable and remain independent so that we can build a vibrant democracy.

Inyatsi’s Michello Shakantu must leave Times alone, embrace competition.
Inyatsi Director Michello Shakantu.