Search This Blog


For more coverage follow us also on Twitter and Facebook

Showing posts with label Thwala Thulani. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Thwala Thulani. Show all posts

Wednesday, 12 February 2014


King Mswati III continues to keep a tight grip on news media and opposition voices in Swaziland, a report on journalism freedom in the kingdom just published reveals.

The King, who rules Swaziland as sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, ‘owned one of the two daily newspapers and employed the editor of the other as an adviser. Radio and television were also controlled by the state,’ the report from the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) stated.

‘Though Swazis readily accessed South African radio and television, South African newspapers entering Swaziland were carefully screened by authorities: If deemed critical of the king or government, all copies were purchased and destroyed,’ CPJ said.

‘Self-censorship prevailed in the kingdom, where political parties are banned and critical voices within civil society and the media were silenced through legal or professional repercussions.

‘Few dared challenge the government; the boards of state-owned companies such as the Swazi Observer Newspaper group kept their editors in check and, in turn, editors ensured that their reporters toed the line.’

The CPJ reported two editors, Alec Lushaba and Thulani Thwala, were reinstated in March 2013 after being suspended by their employer, the Swazi Observer , the newspaper owned by the King.

‘The editors were accused of “negative coverage” and failure to follow the company’s mandate, which includes “upholding the social and cultural values of the Swazi nation.” The king is seen as the embodiment of these values, CPJ reported.

Lushaba and Thwala had published critical stories about the king, including a June 2011 article about Swaziland's alleged attempts to secure a loan from South Africa, which was believed to cause embarrassment to the king, according to the managing director of Tibiyo Taka Ngwane, the royal entity that owns the Swazi Observer Newspaper group.

See also


Friday, 22 March 2013


Media Institute of Southern Africa - Swaziland Chapter
Media Alert, 22 March 2013

Reinstatement of Swazi Observer Editors

The Media Institute of Southern Africa - Swaziland Chapter welcomes the decision by the Swazi Observer Board of Directors to reinstate editors, Alec Lushaba and Thulani Thwala after the eight months of unjustified suspension. In a statement issued by the Swazi Observer Board Chairman Sthofeni Ginindza earlier this week, ‘there was no sufficient reason for the suspension of the Swazi Observer daily and Weekend Observer editors.’

We as MISA Swaziland commend the Swazi Observer board for dealing with this matter in the prudent manner they did. We further share the same belief with the board regarding the important role that professionals play in organizations; particularly members of the media profession. Media freedom is a right not only to be enjoyed by journalists but also by members of the public who depend on media reports to make informed decisions on their daily life, hence bad conditions for journalists will have negative impacts on the public.

Freedom of the press is a right guaranteed by the Constitution of the kingdom of Swaziland and other regional and international instruments to which Swaziland is a state party. The job security of journalists should be respected just like all other professionals who are treated with dignity and high esteem. Therefore the unjustifiable suspension and dismissal of journalists in media houses should be condemned to the highest order. We hope other media houses will take a leaf from the Observer Board and ensure the job security of journalists. MISA Swaziland strives to see an environment that is open for journalists to practise their profession.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011


Barnabas Dlamini, Swaziland’s illegally-appointed Prime Minister, tried to get the Swazi Observer group closed down after the newspapers ran reports critical of him and called for him to resign or be sacked.

Dlamini went to Tibiyo, the company that owns the Observer group on behalf of King Mswati III, but was told to go away.

This has emerged after Musa Ndlangamandla, the Observer group editor-in-chief, revealed on his Facebook site that Dlamini had convinced the king he was a ‘security risk’.

As I reported yesterday (25 July 2011) Ndlangamandla says now the King believes this to be true he has been blacklisted and is not allowed anywhere near the King, who is sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch.

Previously, Ndlangamandla had been a key member of the King’s team, accompanying the monarch on overseas’ trips and wrote speeches for him.

Since Ndlangamandla wrote on Facebook his friends have been filling in some of the background.

They say Barnabas Dlamini had become angry because the Swazi Observer had written articles critical of him. These included a series of articles about business deals the PM had been involved in, and his part in a long-running land scam deal, involving senior politicians and members of the Swazi Royal Family.

The Observer newspapers also ran reports from trade unionists and civil society groups calling for Dlamini to resign as Prime Minister.

In a column in his own newspaper Thulani Thwala, the editor of the Observer, called on Dlamini to quit.

Later, Alec Lushaba, the Weekend Observer editor, also said Dlamini must go.

Dlamini was so incensed by the reports he went to Tibiyo which is chaired by Prince Logcogco, who is also chair of Liqoqo the king’s advisory council, demanding Ndlangamandla be fired.

One account also has it that Dlamini demanded the newspapers be closed down.

Logcogco backed Ndlangamandla. At this point, sources say, Dlamini threatened to resign as Prime Minister because he believed Logcogco and Ndlangamandla were out against him.

In March 2011, a report circulated the world that Dlamini had threatened to resign (no specific reason was given). He later denied it. But he did tell the Times Sunday, ‘there were people who were out to ruin him’.

See also



Saturday, 28 May 2011


King praises Editor

Swazi Observer Editor Thulani Thwala won His Majesty King Mswati III’s heart when he congratulated him for leading the country through stability as opposed to reports of conflicts in greater Africa, where there has been bloodshed.

Thwala said it was encouraging for the King to promote dialogue such as calling the nation to Sibaya to discuss issues of crucial importance.

He had in mind the hottest issue of Prime Minister [Barnabas] Sibusiso Dlamini, who has taken the same government he heads to court.

His Majesty, in turn, expressed appreciation of Thwala’s observations that the country was relatively peaceful and the efforts made by the King to this end. He added that it was the nature and life of Swazi people to consult and dialogue. He said the process began at umphakatsi to tinkhundla, Smart Partnership Dialogue and other fora.

“This is a sign that we talk about our issues and about ourselves to come up with resolutions. These may not necessarily be cast in stone as though they are judgements but are resolutions until we hit a common ground.”

(Report in the Weekend Observer, a newspaper that constantly claims to be the independent voice on behalf of the Swaziland people, today – 28 May 2011. The Observer is in effect owned by King Mswati).

Thursday, 30 December 2010


I smell a rat at the Swazi Observer.

For the past two weeks Thulani Thwala, the newspaper’s editor, has attacked Barnabas Dlamini, Swaziland’s illegally-appointed Prime Minister, on his personal character (for being involved in a corrupt deal that stole government land from the people for his own personal benefit) and his competence in handling the economy of the kingdom.

Yesterday (29 December 2010), he called on Dlamini, along with the Deputy Prime Minister and the Finance Minister to quit.

At the same time as condemning Barnabas Dlamini, Thwala praised Themba (AT) Dlamini, the man King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, replaced as Prime Minister in 2008, after what in Swaziland passes for a ‘parliamentary election’.

The king replaced Themba with Barnabas, even though this was against the constitution of Swaziland.

Thwala’s praise of Themba Dlamini had a few tongues wagging in Swaziland. The reason is this: after he left office as Prime Minister the king made Themba Dlamini Managing Director of Tibiyo, the conglomerate that runs the Swazi Observer on behalf of the king.

So we have Thwala praising his boss and saying that the boss made a better PM than the present post holder.

Did Themba Dlamini instruct Thwala to praise his work as PM and put it into people’s minds that he would be an ideal replacement for Barnabas, or was this just a bit of freelance brown-nosing by Thwala?

We can be sure of one thing: the attack in the Swazi Observer and its companion Weekend Observer on Barnabas Dlamini and his government has been sustained and I expect will continue in the days and weeks ahead.

King Mswati appointed Barnabas Dlamini and the king owns Observer newspapers, so it is inconceivable that Thwala would make this attack if he didn’t have the support of Themba Dlamini (his boss) and the king.

Thwala, his journalists and paid commentators, make it clear in their criticisms that Barnabas and his minister are to blame for the current crisis in Swaziland and that King Mswati has nothing to do with it.

This isn’t true, of course. King Mswati chooses the PM and the cabinet and sets the tone of government and parliamentary business. He also bleeds his subjects dry to pay for his 13 palaces and lavish lifestyle: he is to blame for the dire plight the Swazi people face today.

So, Barnabas is being targeted as the cause of the problem. And the solution? Get rid of Barnabas and replace him with a ‘competent’ new PM. Step forward Themba Dlamini.

And in one single move King Mswati thinks he has solved his problem. With Barnabas gone, the king, his new PM and his state-controlled media can tell the Swazi people that the crisis is over. The Big Bad Barnabas is no more and we can all rest safely in our beds.

Or at least the ruling elite can rest safely.

There is only one problem: Themba is no more able to solve the problem of Swaziland than Barnabas. It will take more than a swap of personalities at the top of government to do that. It can only be achieved by complete root-and-branch change of Swaziland and that is something the king and his hangers-on do not want to see.

Wednesday, 29 December 2010


The Swazi Observer, the newspaper in effect owned by King Mswati III, has told Barnabas Dlamini, Swaziland’s Prime Minister, his deputy and the Finance Minister to all resign.

‘[The] PM has allowed himself to be party to the collapse of our economy and there is no better punishment than to ask him to leave,’ Thulani Thwala, the editor of the Observer says.

Thwala, writing in his own newspaper today (29 December 2010), also calls for Majozi Sithole, the Finance Minister, and Themba Masuku, the Deputy Prime Minister (DPM), to quit.

Thwala writes, ‘Reality is; we are in trouble as a country and definitely 2011 will be such a mountain to climb for many of us. In a nutshell, we are dead walking. Who is to blame for the situation we find ourselves in as a country? Look no further than the PM, DPM and Finance Minister Majozi Sithole.’

He goes on, ‘Here are three thoroughly educated Swazi men who are letting everyone including the King down. With their education combined, we should not be swimming in financial troubles.’

He goes on, ‘Now, the reason I picked on the three is simple; the current PM has been finance minister before, the longest serving one at that. The current DPM was once finance minister, a good one, if you like. And we have Majozi who has been in the finance office for over 11 years now.’

Writing on Sithole, Thwala says, ‘He has allowed people to plunder state funds without raising a finger,’

He goes on, ‘I ask; how did Majozi (an economist by profession or birth) fail to spot that our financial standing was collapsing in the 11 years he has been minister?

‘In normal countries, Majozi should have been asked to leave. He has allowed people to plunder state funds without raising a finger. Allowed lunatics (by his own admission) to keep government’s safe keys.

Thwala writes, ‘I know Majozi would argue that he has been issuing warnings in his recycled budget speeches and people ignored to listen. To me that is not good enough. His cabinet colleagues have been flying non-stop (business class or first class) to an extent that some are now personally known to pilots of the international flights.

‘I can’t find a single record where Majozi attempted to barricade some of his colleagues from attending the many useless international conferences. It would not surprise me to learn that some ministers attended swimming and cooking workshops overseas.’

He writes, ‘It would help if Majozi resigned. I strongly feel someone like Dumsani Masilela would make a good finance minister.’

Writing on Masuku, Thwala says,‘The DPM will also have to go, simple because of his status as an accomplice, an educated one at that, to the heartless strangling of the economy.’

Thwala also accuses Dlamini, who was illegally appointed Prime Minister of Swaziland by King Mswati, sub-Saharan Africa's last absolute monarch, and cabinet colleagues of greed and feathering their own nests by buying government land for themselves at vastly discounted prices.

To read Thwala’s full denunciation, click here.