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State journalist Mbono Mdluli alleges forced resignation,Observer Managing editor Mbongeni Mbingo says he disappeared after being questioned for underperformance.

Monday, 8th January, 2024

MBABANE:Mbono Mdluli,a journalist of the State owned Eswatini Observer has written a letter to the Media Union reporting Managing editor Mbongeni Mbingo who allegedly forced him to submit a resignation letter.

In a letter dated 28th December 2023, where the seasoned journalist reported the editor to the Media Union, Mdluli alleged that Mbingo asked him to produce story ideas knowing very well that, he was from Walter Bennett’s Office to collect some Supreme Court documents and was about to read them before identifying story angles.

A story idea or angle in journalism,refers to the types of stories that a journalist intends to pursue,story ideas are submitted by journalists and approved by editors before being actioned.

“The bone of contention was the submission of what we call a diary in the afternoon. This is the list of four stories that I had done yesterday. The time was around 16:30 and I was supposed to have handed that by 16:00.However, I could not do that because I had gone to Buzzby Services offices(Mr Walter Bennett’s company’s offices at Dlanubeka Building) to fetch some Supreme Court papers regarding a matter between certain families.I returned from Mr Bennett’s Offices at around 16:25 and I wanted to read the documents to find out what the matter was about.This was when I was called into Mr Mbingo’s office having been informed by Mr Phephisa Khoza that Mr Mbingo was calling me.I went into Mbingo’s office and she was sitting there with Miss Sukati.Mr Mbingo told me to get in with my notebook which I did. He then ordered me to inform him of the stories I had been working on during the day-the diary.I apologized because I had not prepared the diary and I asked him to give me some time to prepare it. He refused saying I should have prepared it by that time”, reads the letter from the journalist to the Media Union.

Reached for comments on Monday morning, Mbono Mdluli, the Eswatini Observer journalist confirmed the letter to the Media Union.

“I can confirm knowledge of that letter that I wrote to the union”, said the journalist.

Efforts to seek a comment from the Media Union proved unsuccessful at the time of compiling this report.

But Mbongeni Mbingo,the Managing editor of the Eswatini Observer when responding to this Swaziland News on the subject matter, denied that Mbono Mdluli was forced to resign.

But instead, the editor clarified that,he was held accountable for underperforming and writing stories that resulted to the publication being forced to publish retractions.

Writing articles or stories that constituently resulted to retractions is regarded as underperforming or dereliction of duties in the media as that places the newspaper at the risk of being sued or losing credibility in the eyes of the readers.

“Good morning,I am not aware that Mbono has been forced to resign.To the best of my knowledge, and I am certain you will understand this,Mbono was asked to account for his performance and reminded that he is expected to do his quarter of stories.He was therefore reminded that he is a serial underperformer whose stories have forced us to publish retractions.

In this aspect he was asked why should not be disciplined.We have not heard from him since that day.If anything, he would have been expected to submit a written complaint, which I do not have.To the best of my knowledge, Mbono has absented himself from work for two weeks”, said the Eswatini Observer Managing editor.

State journalist Mbono Mdluli alleges forced resignation,Observer Managing editor Mbongeni Mbingo says he disappeared after being questioned for underperformance.
Journalist Mbono Mdluli.