Thursday, February 3, 2011


The newspapers in Swaziland today (3 February 2011) report that Barnabas Dlamini, the Prime Minister, has warned the Swazi media against looking for stories on Facebook.

What he and the newspapers don’t tell us is that yesterday Dlamini himself was the focus of a Facebook post about the support he voiced for Ndumiso Mamba, at the time (August 2010) when the cabinet minister was found in an adulterous relationship with one of the wives of King Mswati III.

The post on the Umgosi Eswatini: The Real Staff Facebook site said the idea that Dlamini wanted to send ‘a small delegation of ministers to offer sympathy and comfort to Ndumiso, was most despicable. Had it not been for one minster who objected to such nonsense the mission would have been executed. Surprisingly, no one suggested that they do that to the king, yet this is supposed to be a cabinet that would die for its boss.’

But this was not reported by the Swazi newspapers. Instead, they reported Dlamini saying it was important to keep information published on the Internet away from the Swazi people.

If such stories from these websites then make it to the newspapers and radios, then the public at large will start to think there is some truth in the story yet it was just malicious gossip,’ the Times of Swaziland, the only independent daily newspaper in the kingdom, reported him saying.

The Swazi Observer, the newspaper in effect owned and edited by King Mswati, reported, ‘Dlamini said government did not have any measures to control the internet but relied on the support of the media which assists by shying away from information published or sourced from the internet.’

The PM incorrectly said that the stories on the Internet couldn’t be believed because the writers used a false identity. All the posts I write are clearly identified by my real name.

The Times reported, ‘The PM was responding to questions posed by this publication over what government was doing to monitor the use of the internet, particularly regarding the image of the country as well as a recent story on Facebook which said a married female minister had been caught kissing another man in a vehicle by her husband.’

The newspaper was referring to Nelisiwe Shongwe, Swaziland’s Minister for Information, Communication and Technology. For no obvious reason (to me at least), the media in Swaziland continue to keep the name of the minister secret from its readers.

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