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Army Commander Jeffery Shabalala must leave politics, journalists alone and focus on State security.

Tuesday, 13th April, 2021

Army Commander Jeffery Shabalala needs strong advisers to convince him that he must leave politics, allow independent journalists to do their job and focus on State security as per his job description.
Perhaps, let me warn the Army Commander that if he continues to use State resources to plot the assassination of citizens who are critical of the current Government, we will be forced to investigate and publish highly sensitive information that might expose the weaknesses of the military, this include the number and type of weapons in possession of the army, where the weapons are kept, the amount of petrol and other weaknesses of the military.
The Army Commander while sitting in that air-conditioned office enjoying taxpayers' money must not fool himself into thinking that just because he heads the military, he can interfere with the citizens' right to decide on how they want to be governed, his job is to provide the State with security not to kill citizens.
As journalists, we are expected to be careful when reporting about issues of State security but if Shabalala reduces himself to be King Mswati’s security guard while plotting to assassinate those calling for regime change, we might be forced to expose the weaknesses of the army, protecting the King and his family is not State security but amounts to reducing the army into a security company for the King and his royal family.
Indeed, if the army is now used against the people, we might be forced to expose the security pillars of the country so that the citizens and those facilitating regime change both locally and internationally can know how many weapons are in possession of the army and how they can counter them during a political conflict to protect the people.
It should be noted that just one(1)investigative article can weaken the military, if the Army Commander is bored just because there is no war in this country and start targeting innocent citizens who are discussing issues on how they want their country to be governed, we, as independent journalists, have the capacity and enough information to force him into being a busy man.
Parliament and the media represents the interests of the people and therefore, vocal MPs that include among others, Mduduzi ‘Magawugawu’ Simelane, Bacede Mabuza, independent journalists have a right to discuss issues in the public public interest, the duty of Jeffrey Shabalala is to provide us with security while we discuss those political issues and he must never, even in his wildest dreams, think that he can intimidate us with guns and force us to love King Mswati.
It is in our best interest as a Nation to discuss our political differences and peacefully agree whether we want multi-party democracy or not without any interference from the army, Shabalala has never fought or commanded a war so he cannot claim to have experience to stop the people in the event they decide to revolt, he must always prevent chaos, promote peace and stability instead of promoting disorder.
Furthermore, the Army Commander must know that Eswatini is part of the global community governed by international law, if it’s true that he was trained on intelligence he ought to have known that his actions and the evidence in our possession where he was plotting assassinations might result to him facing charges at the International Criminal Court(ICC). We have lost many political activists who died mysteriously in this country and obtaining such evidence where the Head of the military was plotting the assassination of citizens critical of the government suggests that the Army Commander is not the head of State security but King Mswati's security guard. Now that he has chosen to reduce himself into the King's security guard instead of providing security to the Nation, he must know that human rights are governed by international law and should not mislead himself into thinking that he can kill people and that would be the end.
We are citizens of this country and we have a right to criticise those in power particularly King Mswati because, apart from the fact that they benefit from public funds, their decisions impact our lives.
Jeffery Shabalala might soon create more confusion in our military with his blunders, his primary duty is to protect the country and once he declares war against the people by targeting their vocal MPs and independent journalists, he will learn the hard way the true definition of journalism because just one article might weaken the army.
Some citizens might be afraid of the army just because they don't know it's weakness and once we give them detailed information in this regard, their political conduct and perception in the institution of the Monarch will change.
This means, the media have a role to play, you can't fight the media in the name of State security because journalists have the capacity to expose your military strength and weaknesses so that your enemies can know how and when to deal with you.
As citizens of this country, we have a collective duty to prevent anarchy and or chaos by dealing with our political differences in a peaceful manner while determining the appropriate system to govern this country but we cannot allow military bullies like Jeffery Shabalala to intimidate us, this is our country and we have a right to be critical on issues impacting our lives.
In conclusion, let me emphasize that as our country is in the midst of social and economic challenges as a result of King Mswati’s poor leadership and looting of State funds, we have a right to demand that he surrenders Executive powers to the people and allow multi-party democracy. Army Commander Jeffrey Shabalala must just relax while we continue to hold the King accountable for messing the lives of the people and forcing them into poverty, this country belongs to the Swazis and is not a property of King Mswati.
Army Commander Jeffery Shabalala must leave politics, journalists alone and focus on State security.
Army Commander Lieutenant General Jeffery Sipho Shabalala