Saturday, January 8, 2011


King Mswati III’s newspapers in Swaziland are once again trying to fool us that they are independent chroniclers of events in the kingdom.

The latest to try is Alec Lushaba, editor of the Weekend Observer. Writing today (8 January 2011) in his own newspaper, he says the Observer is not directly linked to the Swazi Government. That is true. But he admits the paper is owned by King Mswati.

And, let’s face it, that fact alone tells us that the newspaper cannot be trusted to tell the truth about Swaziland.

Lushaba has the gall to write this, ‘We are just a newspaper that Serves the Nation.’

He goes on, ‘We are called upon by our shareholder to publish without fear or favour all news of public interest in the following areas, politics, business, social, economic and sporting activities. We further make a commitment to inform and educate the public on matters of their social well being.’

Nonsense. I make this challenge to Lushaba. If your newspaper serves the nation then tell your readers about the Royal Family sex scandal that was reported around the world in August 2010, but not in Swaziland.

Report what the world knows: that Forbes revealed in 2009 that King Mswati has a personal fortune estimated at US$ 200 million. Then tell the readers where he got the money from.

And lastly: tell your readers about the present scandal involving a senior cabinet minister. Tell your readers who he is (half of Swaziland is already gossiping about the name) and tell them how the Swazi Royal Family is involved in the scandal.

Once you do these things, you can claim to be a newspaper that publishes without ‘fear or favour’.

And if my readers think I’m being a bit harsh on Lushaba, the following are his words, from his article:

‘We commit ourselves into respecting and observing the institution of the Monarchy by ensuring that all publications with regard to Their Majesties are factually, culturally and traditionally correct. The sensitivity of the institutions demands that all facts be checked or verified with the traditional structures and/or have been in direct consultation with Their Majesties.’

I rest my case.

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