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King’s Secretary, Government Spokesperson must leave SABC editor Sophie Mokoena alone, it’s ethical to balance a story.

Thursday, 8th September, 2022

After the attacks by King’s Secretary Sihle Dlamini directed Sophie Mokoena, the South African Broadcasting Cooperation(SABC) international editor, it became clear that this Government has a tendency of fighting independent journalists merely for upholding journalism standards and ethics.

Firstly, let me bring to the attention of the King’s Secretary and the entire Government that editor Sophie Mokoena has always been fair when handling eSwatini issues by ensuring that those involved are afforded an opportunity to respond to allegations.

Sophie Mokoena contacted me on Saturday and asked if I could be able to the speak to the SABC after we published a story about security officers who disappeared with weapons in demand for democratic reforms.

I was supposed to be on air the following day(Sunday), but editor Sophie Mokoena subsequently changed her mind and said, "NO, let’s postpone to Monday so that we can give the eSwatini Government enough time to respond".

Indeed, the interview was postponed to Monday and I was interviewed without the side of Government because eSwatini Government Spokesperson Alpheous Nxumalo was evasive, refusing to speak to the SABC.

After realizing that I touched on the issue of the South African Development Community(SADC) Panel of Elders as confirmed by President Cyril Ramaphosa and thereafter, the Government Spokesperson rushed to the SABC to respond and clarify.

Mswati and his Spokespersons must understand that journalists operate within the global framework governing the media.

When a journalist approaches a public figure and or politician for a comment, that doesn’t mean refusing to comment will lead to the story being dropped because doing so, would be a gross violation of the citizens’ Constitutional right to information.

We must applaud almost all the SABC journalists for upholding professionalism even when attacked by this cruel, oppressive and illegitimate Government.

International journalists must know that this Government was never democratically elected by the people hence it doesn’t subscribe to the principles of transparency, openness and accountability.

Any politician who was democratically elected understands the importance of responding to questions from the media, journalists have an obligation to demand accountability of public power.

The attacks by the King and his Government directed to the international media merely for covering eSwatini critical issues vindicate persecuted independent journalists in this troubled Kingdom.

Government Spokesperson Alpheous Nxumalo went on to embarrass himself live on air by telling an SABC presenter that “I like you” in ‘appreciation’ of her line of questioning but subsequently, he avoided responding to the direct and critical questions.

Nxumalo attacked editor Sophie Mokoena and went on to systematically pretend as if he was appreciating the presenter, it was a desperate “divide and rule” strategy that he uses to divide journalists in the country.

The Government Spokesperson uttered an  outright lie, accusing editor Mokoena of not giving him a platform to respond to allegations suggesting that members of King Mswati’s security forces disappeared with weapons.

When Sophie Mokoena stated that she was in possession of evidence substantiating that she contacted the Government Spokesperson for a comment, Alpheous Nxumalo failed to defend himself and was embarrassed.

In conclusion, let me remind Nxumalo that all Spokespersons cannot work effectively without journalists, he must continue attacking and demonstrating arrogance towards the independent media and let’s see if he will eventually become a popular Government Spokesperson.

The SABC is watched by millions of people around the world including world leaders, if Nxumalo continues to demonstrate arrogance live on TV and attack journalists, this might be used by world organizations when compiling reports about eSwatini.

King’s Secretary, Government Spokesperson must leave SABC editor Sophie Mokoena alone, it’s ethical to balance a story.
SABC international editor Sophie Mokoena.