The Swaziland newspaper in effect owned by autocratic monarch King Mswati III has launched another bogus scare story against Asians living in the kingdom.
This time the newspaper described by the Media Institute of Southern Africa in a report on press freedom as a ‘pure propaganda machine for the royal family’has reported that Asians might try to take control of parliament at the 2018 national elections.
The newspaper reported incorrectly on Thursday (9 February 2017) that there were ‘more than 190,000 Asians in the country and some of them have even obtained citizenships’.
The newspaper reported, ‘the biggest worry among traditional authorities now is that Asians might go for Parliament next year’.
It added, ‘The worry amongst the chiefs was that Asians have money and they can use it to lure people to vote for them if they want to.’
In fact, there are nowhere near as many Asians in Swaziland as the newspaper reported. According to the CIA Factbook, an independent source, 97 percent of Swaziland’s 1.3 million people are African. That would mean only about 39,000 of the kingdom’s inhabitants were non-African.
The190,000 figure quoted by the Observer is entirely bogus and has no foundation in reality. To put the figure in context, in 2013 at the last national election in Swaziland 251,278 people voted from the 414,704 who had registered.
The Observer has been very loose in its reporting of Asians. In November 2016, its companion newspaper the Observer on Saturday reported Swaziland’s Director of Public Prosecutions Nkosinathi Maseko saying, ‘most nationals of Asian origin were associated with terrorist activities’.
It reported he told this to a parliamentary select committee set up to investigate what the newspaper called an ‘influx of illegal immigrants’ into the kingdom.
The newspaper reported Maseko had said, ‘it was public information that most nationals of Asian origin were associated with terrorist activities; and their continued entry illegally put the country and its citizens at high risk of being a nucleus for terrorist activities.’
Maseko and the Observer gave no evidence to support this.
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