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OPINION:Why expressing love for the King in MPs case perceived as an added advantage to influence Judge’s leniency Mr Times editor Mfankhona Nkambule?.

Sunday, 25th February, 2024

Mfanikhona Nkambule,the Acting Times Sunday editor wrote an opinion article on Sunday where he praised convicted Member of Parliament(MP) Mthandeni Dube for expressing love for His Majesty King Mswati.

Perhaps,let me state that, Mfankhona Nkambule is a senior journalist that I respect regardless of our political differences,we have done media projects together and we even travelled to interview the Chinese Ambassador to the Republic of South Africa at the Embassy in Pretoria.

I hold the Acting Times Sunday editor in high regard particularly when it comes to writing,in journalism,there are different types of writing and veteran journalist Mfankhona Nkambule’s style if one of the best. 

But editor Mfankhona Nkambule has adopted a tendency to promote royal supremacy while undermining fundamental human rights and ridiculing the voices of the oppressed.

Journalism or the media by its nature, is a powerful and influential institution and that power,must subject to accountability as well.

This means as we criticize those in power as journalists, we must remember that we are not immune to criticism, power, whether it’s political, judicial or media, must be subject to public scrutiny and accountability.

Editor Mfankhona Nkambule opted to write an article suggesting that,he was impressed to note that convicted Member of Parliament(MP) Mthandeni Dube expressed love for the King while describing Mswati as a “kind hearted Monarch” amounts to Tinkhundla journalism where criticism against those in power is regarded as being disrespectful to the authorities.

“Generally, any King called Mswati is a kind-hearted monarch, loving, good organiser and initiator, protective of his people and territory, but never mess up with him”, said the editor in his Times Sunday article.

Even though in journalism,opinion articles are not regarded as facts but the mere thoughts of the author, opinion articles written by editors are subject to public scrutiny and debate because due to their power of influence, part of our society might believe that Nkambule was telling the truth and consume a mere opinion as facts. 

King Mswati is not a kind hearted King but an alleged murderer who commanded or unleashed his soldiers and the police to shoot and kill dozens of civilians during the unrest merely for, demanding democratic reforms. 

It is also alleged that the King, through his mercenaries,killed human rights lawyer Thulani Rudolf Maseko,the Chairperson of the pro-democracy MultiStakeholder Forum(MSF).

Even during the 1996 “Khukhulela Ngoco” protests, Mswati threatened those calling for democracy and urged his emaButfo to be on high alert.

In 2008, Mswati commanded the then Prime Minister(PM) Dr. Sibusiso Barnabas Dlamini to strangle political activists to death(Abekhanywe) and soon thereafter, Sipho Jele was killed inside prison, the Times was then ordered to spread propaganda suggesting that, Jele committed suicide by hanging himself with a shoe lace.

Now, Times Sunday editor Mfankhona Nkambule is suggesting that, those who are advocating for democracy must learn to speak with respect when addressing Mswati.

Unfortunately, it is not the duty of the media to dictate to members of the public how to express themselves when criticizing a sitting Head of State except to discourage hate speech and promotion of violence. 

Should Judge Mumcy Dlamini sentence MP Mduduzi Bacede Mabuza and be lenient on MP Mthandeni Dube who expressed love for the King, that would mean or confirm allegations suggesting that,the case is politically motivated and judgements are not based on the law but Mswati’s feelings. 

A Judge must be accountable to the Constitution not King Mswati, there’s no where in criminal law where convicted individuals are urged to express love for the King for a lighter sentence.

In conclusion,let me further remind the editor who warned the pro-democracy movement that, it will take another five-five(55) years to achieve democracy if political activists are not speaking politely and with respect when addressing the King. 

Democracy was delayed by the captured media including the Times that promotes royal supremacy.

The captured media made people to believe that Mswati loves them and that one day, the King will improve their lives.

GThe captured media never reported about the looting of public funds by Mswati and his corrupt friends that include SwaziPharm Director Kareem Ashraff, the people would have long taken a decision to remove this oppressive government if the media including the Times was capacitating them with information.

Now, with the emergence of online media, a new generation is being capacitating with information everyday in order to seize power and remove this cruel and oppressive government.

Editor Mfankhona Nkambule in his article was not telling the truth when he suggested that, it will take long to achieve democracy, this country will soon be democratic.

But having said that, I respect editor Mfankhona Nkambule’s opinion, I believe all of us,regardless of our  political beliefs, have the best interest of the country at heart.

The Times must not advocate or urge citizens to respect Mswati who allegedly killed civilians including human rights lawyer Thulani Rudolf Maseko, respect is earned.

Journalists have an obligation to act in the public interest and protect human rights not to promote royal supremacy, clearly,Nkambule is acting in the royal not public interest.

OPINION:Why expressing love for the King in MPs case perceived as an added advantage to influence Judge’s leniency Mr Times editor Mfankhona Nkambule?.
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