Posted by: africanpressorganization | 26 January 2009

Swaziland / Threats on newspaper columnist and opposition figure mount




Swaziland / Threats on newspaper columnist and opposition figure mount


MBABANE, Swaziland, January 26, 2009/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The harassment of former Member of Parliament and cabinet Minister, now opposition figure, Mfomfo Nkambule, continued with traditional authorities summoning him to one of King Mswati’s palaces where he was threatened over his critical views on governance issues in the world’s last remaining absolute monarch, Swaziland. On 24 January 2009, Nkambule, a popular weekly columnist writing for the privately-owned Times of Swaziland newspaper was once again, in as many weeks, asked to stop his criticism of King Mswati.


Nkambule, who as per traditional custom belongs to a group called the King’s regiment was summoned by fellow members of the grouping and warned to stop his attacks on the King. He was reminded that as a member of the traditional regiment he is supposed to be loyal to the King and the status quo.


During the meeting, Nkambule was told to choose between being a member of the King’s traditional regiment or pursuing his political career. He was told that he cannot criticize the King in his weekly column and still remain a member of the regiment. He was told that members of the regiment, by their nature, have to show loyalty to the King and not undermine his authority.


After hours of interrogation, Nkambule told his interrogators that he was going to consult about their ultimatum. He came out of the meeting to declare that he was under so much pressure and that his weekly column might be discontinued.


“This could be my last article,” Nkambule said of his article published in the Times on Monday 26 January 2009.

Nkambule bemoans that he is now being forced to stop writing.

“I am forced to stop doing what I like most. Who will benefit from my silence? Who will be exploited as a result of my silence? I pray that the Lord Almighty gives me the wisdom to make the right decision for my country and king.”




Nkambule was summoned by the police a few weeks ago where he was threatened over his critical articles.  The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Swaziland chapter views the continued harassment and threats against Nkambule as a serious violation of the right to freedom of expression and the press. The harassment has continued despite statements issued by the chapter and other concerned organizations condemning such action. MISA Swaziland has scheduled a meeting with Nkambule to try and map the forward to mitigate against such intimidation and threats.//End//



SOURCE : Media Institute of South Africa (MISA)


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