Another member of the Swazi ruling elite has said journalists face death if they continue to criticise the kingdom’s leadership.
Prince Mahlaba, a member, Liqoqo, a shady group that advises King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, said some sections of the media were trying to undermine the kingdom’s system of governance.
According to the Times of Swaziland, the kingdom’s only independent daily newspaper, Prince Mahlaba, told a meeting of the Smart Partnership that he thought there were ‘clandestine manoeuvres in the media that sought to undermine the country’s leadership and system of governance and said that for prolonged periods of time he has been silent, hoping that people would come to their senses and stop the wrong they were doing.’
The Times quoted Prince Mahlaba saying, ‘It’s a fact that journalists earn their living by writing lies and if they do not write the lies then their source of livelihood is threatened and this is fact and beyond debate.’
He added, ‘I want to warn the media to bury things that have the potential of undermining the country, rather than publish all and everything even when such reports are harmful to the country’s international image.
‘Journalists who write bad things about the country will die.’
Prince Mahlaba is not the only member of Swaziland’s ruling elite to threaten journalists with death.
In June 2008, Jim Gama, the ‘traditional prime minister’ of Swaziland (who has more real influence in the kingdom than Barnabas Dlamini, the man King Mswati illegally appointed as the official prime minister) said that a journalist who had written a report critical of King Mswati should face serious punishment, including death.