Prince Mahlaba, who received worldwide condemnation with his statement that journalists who criticise the Swaziland state should die, has once again called journalists liars.
Prince Mahlaba, a brother of King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, and member of the shady group Liqoqo that advises the king, says that he never made a death threat and journalist are lying about him.
The death threat statement was made in public at the so-called Smart Partnership public gathering last month (July 2010).
Then he was reported saying, ‘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.’
He also said at the time, ‘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.’
Now in an interview with the Weekend Observer, a newspaper in effect owned by King Mswati, he says he never made a death threat against journalists and those who say that he did, wrote ‘nothing but lies’.
He went on, ‘Is it then not true that reporters tell lies in order to earn a living? They changed my story.’
There were many journalists and members of the public present when the prince made his original statement, but none of them have come forward to say he was misquoted, even though his remarks gained international attention and he was roundly condemned for making them.
Prince Mahlaba wondered why journalists who were present have not disputed the lies that he said journalists would die. Now, he wants the Swaziland nation to defend him.
Over to you Swazi nation.