Thursday, November 6, 2008


One of Swaziland’s major journalist commentators has been reminding his readers how the kingdom’s new Prime Minister Barnabas Dlamini hounds the media.

Dlamini, who was illegally appointed by King Mswati III last month, was previously Prime Minister from 1996 to 2003.

According to Vusi Sibisi, who writes a weekly commentary in the Times of Swaziland, Dlamini was ‘responsible for raining hell on the media industry and presided over the enforced albeit illegal closure of two newspapers’.

The newspapers in question were the Nation magazine and the Swazi Guardian. I have written myself about the way the government illegally closed down the journals. Even after a court order said publishing could resume, the government sent police to raid the offices of the Nation (to read more on this click here).

Sibisi, writing in the Times last week, said that Dlamini salso ‘hounded’ journalists out of newsrooms.

Sibisi wrote, ‘Not only did he flex his political muscles to shut down two newspapers but he also ensured that anyone of the media, particularly that in private ownership, who refused to toe the official line was blacklisted from getting government advertisements. And since he was law no one could question his word.'

Sibisi is not optimistic about the future (and with Dlamini’s record on human rights and disregarding the rule of law who can blame him?).

He writes, ‘As I see it the media will once more be in the eye of the storm given that for his second time around he has been given additional ammunition, far more lethal that of the rule of law crisis he visited on this country, to fight an imaginary war. If he could do what he achieved then without his power being embellished then the media, not least the whole nation, will be facing hell fire now that the man is back with unfettered additional powers.’

Don’t say, we have not been warned.

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