Musa Ndlangamandla, the editor-in-chief of the Swazi Observer newspaper group, has been sacked.
An unconfirmed report states that he was fired from the newspapers, in effect owned by King Mswati III, because he had published interviews recently with members of the pro-democracy movement in Swaziland.
King Mswati is sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch and political parties are banned in the kingdom.
Ndlangamandla has not confirmed the reasons behind his sacking, but the AFP news agency reported yesterday (17 January 2012) that he ‘stirred controversy in his Asikhulume (Let’s Talk) column where he interviewed pro-democracy activists about the path that Swaziland should take.
‘But his biggest fall from grace was his newspaper's stories claiming that Prime Minister Barnabas Dlamini, a hardline royalist, had appropriated state land illegally,’ AFP claims.
‘An official probe was set up by parliament, but before the investigation was finalised the king intervened and ordered all parties to drop the matter.
‘Ndlangamandla was subsequently sidelined from covering the king's foreign trips and snubbed at all royal functions,’ AFP reports.
Ndlangamandla has made no official comment about his sacking. It is believed that he has been waiting to receive a final pay-off from the newspaper before he talks openly about it.
He has however confirmed on his Facebook site that he is ready for new challenges.
Ndlangamandla said Dlamini convinced King Mswati that he was a ‘security risk’.
Ndlangamandla said the King believed this to be true and Ndlangamandla was blacklisted and not allowed anywhere near the King.
Previously, Ndlangamandla had been a key member of the King’s team, accompanying the monarch on overseas’ trips and filling the Observer with acres of coverage favourable to him.
Ndlangamandla also wrote speeches for King Mswati and made it clear that the Observer believed the king was ‘the legitimate leader of the Swazi nation [and], must never be compromised in any way.’
WE HAVE TO TALK ABOUT THE KING
PM WANTED TO SHUT DOWN ‘OBSERVER’