Around July 2019, Prince Paul Dlamini, the Chairman of the King’s Advisory Council (Liqoqo) proposed a meeting with me, he said he was acting on behalf of His Majesty King Mswati. Indeed, that meeting took place at Ocean Basket in Manzini where the Prince disclosed that the King was actually happy with my work and would like to meet me one day.
In his own words the Chairman said “Ingwenyama ingatsandza nibonane nibe nobabili ngoba nayo ayisetsembi muntfu khona laceleni kwayo, iye itsi ikhuluma intfo tsite, ive leyo nkhulumo seyiphumele ngaphandle”.
Shortly after that meeting, I was filled with some excitement that I will meet the King, but I then remembered victims who were used and subsequently dumped by the Tinkhundla system. I knew meeting the King would have come with more benefits, power and possibly a political appointment but my worry was the end results, to be dumped by the system after destroying my bright journalism career.
Even though, there could be possibilities that the intentions of the former Deputy Prime Minister were genuine, perhaps, to assist the King, it is very important that this issue be publicly scrutinized in the midst of the desperate attempts by the regime to convince the international community regarding the persecution of independent journalists in the country. This regime has no permanent friend but a permanent objective to destroy rational people, hence it uses all possible tricks to attack dissenting voices. Constructive criticism is never accepted, that why one of King Mswati’s daughter Princess Sikhanyiso told me that I will soon meet my end in this King Sobhuza’s country.
While I was in consistent contact with the Liqoqo Chairman, the Prime Minister Ambrose Dlamini would consistently call and ask when I am planning to pay a visit to the King. Considering, the status of the Ambrose Dlamini and Paul Dlamini in the country, it became clear to me that the meeting with the King was a serious issue.
In his own words he said “Kumele uye Mlangeni uyovusela ngoba ngeke wati, ungakhandza kutsi banengi labangenako eNkhosini betame kona ligama lakho”.
Well, to me the words of the Prime Minister confirmed that in this country we are hypnotized into thinking that in order for one to survive and be successful you must be in the King’s good books, which is against principles of independent thinking. This means that citizens of the country must supplement their skills by “simohlwane” in order for them to be employed to better positions by the system.
But let me emphasize that the desire on my part to meet the King was very huge, however, I was worried of being captured and be turned into a propagandist for the political system that might collapse in a twinkle of eye from now hence I didn’t honor the proposal by the Liqoqo Chairman to have audience with the King.
I knew once I refused to play into the system’s gallery, the regime will come hard on me by using the police and the captured media to torment me but I took a decision to always provide quality, unbiased coverage of the economy, health, and other issues. I shall continue to speak the truth regardless of the situation. Furthermore, it is important to mention that journalists should remain independent, no one should own or control the media, not even the King. In order for the country to improve economically and the corruption rate to dwindle, no one should influence the media. If the King is happy with some of the articles published in the Swaziland News merely because they advance his interest, he must also welcome those that are critical of his oppressive regime.
Indeed, I did a research and discovered that one of the weaknesses of the system is that it strives through lies and propaganda hence it is vulnerable at international level. It can be easily defeated because it tends to contradict itself when responding to questions posed by independent journalists, they are used to answering to the useless questions normally asked by the captured media in the country.
I then discovered that a huge file within the intelligence unit has been prepared to monitor me, the police even planted spies within my family. The next strategy of the regime was to arrest me on fabricated criminal charges and then use the captured media to mislead the world that the arrest has nothing to do with my journalism work, but due to criminal charges. That’s why when I appeared before Magistrate Sifiso Vilakati for contempt of court charges, all the media houses were ordered to cover that story to try and tannish my reputation but when reports emerged that police tortured and suffocated me for writing critical articles about the King, no publication touched that story except for the SABC.
But then, what keep me going on this journey is the huge support I am receiving through prayers from the Nation, international journalists who always expose the plight of independent scribes in the country. It’s not an easy journey but we must continue to inspire others who will take over when we get old. The struggle must continue until the country is democratized.
In conclusion, let me state that with these two articles (PART I and PART II) I am just giving the Nation and the international community a clear picture of what is happening behind the scenes in this country. The regime is now too desperate to control information so it can remain relevant in the eyes of the international community but as the desperation escalates, it commits more blunders.
Liqoqo Chairman Paul Dlamini