Swaziland: Swazi Army Commander Resigns After Exposure of Plot to Kill Editor

analysis

General Jeffrey Shabalala did not know his friend was recording their conversations, where he allegedly planned the death of a newspaper editor.

Eswatini's army commander, General Jeffrey Shabalala, abruptly resigned on Monday after a police sergeant friend of his released secret audio recordings of him allegedly plotting to kill a newspaper editor.

In the recordings, Shabalala can also be heard revealing that King Mswati III had put pressure on security forces to arrest three dissident MPs -- even as the Swazi government insists the legal system operates independently of the government executive.

Shabalala was probably instructed to resign by Mswati to avoid further embarrassment to the king, Swazi observers said. What the married general did not know when he was revealing damaging state secrets to his friend in April and July this year was that the friend, Sergeant Cebile Shongwe, was an undercover agent for the Swaziland News, an online investigative newspaper.

In the secret recordings she made of their conversations, Shabalala can be heard speaking to a woman in siSwati. The woman was Shongwe, Zweli Martin Dlamini, the editor of the Swaziland News, told Daily Maverick.

Another journalist, who translated the audio for Daily Maverick, confirmed that at one...

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