Musa Ndlangamandla, the sacked editor in chief of the Swazi Observer newspaper, has fled to South Africa after police and security officers raided his former office and took away his computer and documents.
Ndlangamandla, a former praise singer to King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, says he fears he will be arrested on a charge of terrorism.
Ndlangamandla was sacked in January 2012 from the newspaper in effect owned by King Mswati. He had been involved in a power struggle with Swaziland’s Prime Minister Barnabas Dlamini, which he lost.
For more than a decade Ndlangamandla had been a trusted aide to King Mswati, travelling all over the world at the King’s side, writing his speeches and praising him to the hilt in the Observer newspapers. Ndlangamandla made it clear in his newspapers that they would never publish anything critical of the King.
Since his sacking, Ndlangamandla has tried to reinvent himself as a champion of democracy, claiming that he was a force in the struggle for freedom in the kingdom where all political parties are banned and the King himself handpicks the government.
Now, Ndlangamandla, in an interview with the AFP news agency, says he has fled from Swaziland to South Africa. ‘I am now on the police wanted list on trumped up charges under the Suppression of Terrorism Act,’ AFP reported him saying.
‘Yes, I am scared, looking at the history of people who die in police custody,’ he said.
‘However if it means I should die for trying to help fellow Swazis realise a better future and self-determination, so be it,’ he added.
Ndlangamandla said police visited the Swazi Observer office and confiscated his computer and documents.
A Swazi police spokesperson confirmed the raid had taken place and that Ndlangamandla was under investigation, but declined to say why.
KING’S PAPER SACKS EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
SACKED EDITOR IS NO HERO
WE HAVE TO TALK ABOUT THE KING