Swaziland Journalist Death Threat After Article Supporting Absolute Monarch's Regime

A Swaziland (eSwatini) journalist received a death threat after he wrote an article in support of the political regime headed by absolute monarch King Mswati III.

Welcome Dlamini of the Times of eSwatini reported to police that he had received text messages and one threatened him with death. The text referred to an article he had written for the paper supporting the local tinkhundla system of government. One text told him to stop 'lambasting progressive / political parties'.

The tinkhundla system in Swaziland does not allow political parties to stand in elections. King Mswati appoints the prime minister and government. He also chooses top judges and civil servants. Groups advocating multi-party democracy are banned under the Suppression of Terrorism Act.

The People's United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO) the best known of the prodemocracy groups and one of those banned dissociated itself from the death threat.

Police are investigating.

Journalists are often under attack in Swaziland but it is usually those criticising the regime who suffer. At present Eugene Dube, editor of the website Swati Newsweek, is in exile in South Africa after he wrote articles considered critical of the King.

Ncamiso Ngcamphalala, the Economic Freedom Fighters of Swaziland President, is on bail awaiting trail charged with sedition following comments he made in an interview with Swati Newsweek. He told the High court he had been tortured by police.

In March 2020 Swaziland journalist and former government cabinet minister Mfomfo Nkambule said he was tortured by police after he wrote articles critical of King Mswati for the online newspaper Swaziland News.

Also in March 2020 the editor of Swaziland News Zweli Martin Dlamini told the South African Broadcasting Corporation's Media Monitor programme that police raided his home after he published articles in his newspaper. He said police tied him up and suffocated him with a plastic bag.

He was speaking from South Africa and said he feared returning to Swaziland.

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