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ANALYSIS:Independent media won’t be intimidated by Prime Minister Russell Mmiso Dlamini and his corrupt Cabinet syndicate.

Thursday, 22nd February, 2024

Bheki Makhubu,the editor of the Nation Magazine told SaFM on Tuesday evening that,the media is not free in eSwatini adding that,new Prime Minister(PM) Russell Mmiso Dlamini has already started threatening journalists.

Makhubu is the most senior and respected editor in eSwatini who was persecuted by the State merely for holding those in power accountable,during Breakfast Meetings between editors and the then Prime Minister Dr. Sibusiso Barnabas Dlamini,he would ask hard questions in the interest of transparency and accountability.

I am one of the editors who were present in such Breakfast Meetings with the Prime Minister and still believe,the idea of engaging with the Office of the PM remains fundamental because the media is an important or key stakeholder in the governing structure of the country.

Now,here is PM Russell Mmiso Dlamini threatening the media,Dlamini must understand that,in every country there’s a State controlled and independent media and all these arms of the forth estate complete the structure of the media as an institution.

As journalists,we have interacted not only with Prime Ministers or Ministers but Presidents from other countries,we know exactly the behavior of politicians who are power drunk and fortunately,we have a medicine to cure such political sickness.

It was the media that reported when Dr. Sibusiso Barnabas Dlamini was appointed as Prime Minister,we saw him rising to be the most powerful politician,persecuting his political enemies including editors.

Respected journalist Musa Ndlangamandla,the then Swazi Observer Chief editor had to flee to exile in Republic of South Africa after Prime Minister Barnabas unleashed police officers to raid his office seeking to arrest him.

Editor Musa’s crime was to approve the publication of an investigative story where the then PM Barnabas Dlamini and his team of corrupt Cabinet Ministers stole Government land and/or plots in Mbabane worth millions.

We saw Barnabas persecuting his political enemies that include Members of Parliament(MPs) Marwick Khumalo and Charles Myeza, the then Justice Minister Sibusiso Shongwe and former King’s Advisor Sandlane Zwane including the then Clerk to Parliament Ben Zwane.

Perhaps,it is worth mentioning that, lwe saw Barnabas persecuting political activists, he was instrumental in ordering the killing of human rights defenders inside and outside prison.

As the media,we were reporting those stories about a man who was feared by many in the country but, in a political career,there’s always the beginning and the end.

We later saw,scary pictures of the sickly Barnabas and were published in the newspapers,I was the first journalist to report about the death of once powerful Prime Minister after receiving information from one of his bodyguards who were with him in hospital.

Even though we were constantly in communication with Barnabas, the last Breakfast Meeting I attended was at Sibane Hotel and I had the opportunity to seek clarification with regards to rumours as Barnabas was accused of controlling and weaponizing the Anti Corruption Commission(ACC) against his political enemies, he denied the allegations.

Therefore, new Prime Minister Russell Mmiso Dlamini must not come here and think he can intimidate the media, brave journalists cannot be intimidated by ‘boys’ like him excited after testing political power.

The independent media is not a propaganda machinery for government and we will make sure that all politicians are held accountable in line with the principles of transparency and accountability.

Once we conclude that Russell is power drunk,as journalists we know what to do,we are here to represent and protect the interest of the public.

Politicians who are corrupt and intend to abuse public power are hostile to the media because they don’t want to be questioned,unfortunately,the independent media will not be bullied into political submission while we are still alive.

Politicians come and go and as we reported about the appointment of Russell Dlamini as Prime Minister, we will be here to report about his downfall.

ANALYSIS:Independent media won’t be intimidated by Prime Minister Russell Mmiso Dlamini and his corrupt Cabinet syndicate.
PM Russell Dlamini.