MBABANE: Three eSwatini journalists are allegedly behind the formation of Vuka Sive, a new 'underground' political party that seeks to challenge King Mswati’s dictatorship rule, an investigation by this publication has revealed.
These journalists are former Times reporter Manqoba Nxumalo, Times of eSwatini part time columnist Mancoba Mabuza and Swazi Observer Managing Editor Mbongeni Mbingo who is currently working for the organisation behind the scenes to protect his job as editor of the King’s owned newspaper.
Documents including a Constitution seen by this Swaziland News belonging to the new 'underground' political party suggests that the entity subsequently established “Ulibambe Lingashoni”, an online publication where the entity pushes its political agenda including criticizing and scandalizing high profile figures, trade unions and other political parties seen as a threat to the party’s agenda.
“We establish Vuka Sive as a democratic movement whose primary mission is a speedy resolution of the problems of royal supremacy in all its manifestation and to help organize the people of Swaziland into a new society founded on respect of human rights, democracy, rule of law and social justice” reads part of the Constitution of the new political party that currently operates 'undercover'.
Wandile Dludlu, the Secretary General of the People's United Democratic Movement(PUDEMO) said they were aware of the new political party, he said they as a movement, they are advocating for a environment where people even journalists will be free to form political parties as long they won't start conducting themselves unethically.
"We are aware of the political party you are referring to and we have nothing against it, you see many political parties were formed before, others accused PUDEMO of delaying the struggle but today, they have failed to even organise a march that involves 50 people. For us, we want an environment where all people including journalists will be free to form anything, even if leyontfo ibulima they will learn once they have established it" said the PUDEMO Secretary General.
But Eugene Dube, the editor of the Swati Newsweek said practising journalists should not affiliate or form political parties as that might amount to conflict of interest.
"This is a strange matter. My understanding is that as journalists we are guided by a set of rules that govern our journalism profession. We must try by all means to avoid such situations. It's highly possible that there will be a conflict of interest here" said the SwatiNewsweek editor.
On or around 18th June 2020, the political party through its Online publication “Ulibambe Lingashoni” published an article “Analysing the decay and degeneration of Swazi journalism” that attacked almost all local journalists including Martin Dlamini of the Times, however, there was no mentioning of Mbongeni Mbingo in the article despite that he remains a major player in local journalism in his capacity as Chairman of the Eswatini Editors Forum.
The publication claimed the article was written by an editor of a local newspaper who despite making serious allegations against individuals decided to ‘hide’ his name by using a fake name ‘Mnikeni Dlamini’.
But on or around 26th July 2020, Manqoba Nxumalo, despite publishing an article that criticized the media earlier, later published a Facebook post describing Mbingo as the most credible and successful journalist in the country thus exposing his links with the State editor.
Worth-noting is that Mbingo once worked for the Times where he was Nxumalo’s boss, he is currently employed by the King’s regime that the new political party seeks to overthrow.
Reached for comments, Mancoba Mabuza, a Public Relations practitioner who happens to be part of “Ulibambe Lingashoni” did not confirm nor deny that he was part of the new political party, instead he referred questions to Manqoba Nxumalo.
“Hi Nkhosi. Please speak to Manqoba Nxumalo, he's been trying to reach out to you” he said.
On or around January 2019, this publication exposed another ‘media’ syndicate, the ‘Swazi Secrets whose writing style was similar to that of Ulibambe Lingashoni's fake writer Mnikeni Dlamini, it was targeting Sthofeni Ginindza, Prime Minister Ambrose Dlamini and Majozi Sithole. The contents of the articles were subsequently linked Mbongeni Mbingo through an email he sent to Swazi MTN Spokesperson Mandla Luphondvo where he wanted MTN to respond, accusing the PM, the then MTN CEO of using emerging newspapers to fight his battles. Mbingo, who happens to be an ally to Manqoba Nxumalo is currently facing a royal investigation into his alleged questionable relationship with Inkhosikati LaMbikiza and is believed to be using "Ulibambe Lingashoni" as he cannot defend himself through the Swazi Observer, he is believed to be working with the Online publication as an undercover writer so he could have a job once the regime removed him.
Mbongeni Mbingo did not respond to questions sent to him via a text message, he was asked to clarify if it was part of the political party and his alleged links with "Ulibambe Lingashoni"
But Manqoba Nxumalo, one of the alleged founders of the political organisation said he doesn't know if Vuka Sive was a political party saying it started this month, adding that he had even hosted virtual or reading groups on WhatsApp.
“Well I don’t know if Vuka Sive is a political party coz it started about a year ago and this year it hosted virtual studying/reading groups on WhatsApp where several Pudemo, NNLC, SWADEPA people participated, including PUDEMO President. It would be strange if so many PUDEMO members would participate in a program of a new party. I have asked Mancoba Mabuza about Vuka Sive being a political party and he is as blank as me about that. In fact we share the view that there is no need for a new party in the political terrain of SD. In fact to use his words he said ‘I can never join or form any splinter party. I am not mad’. Ulibambe Lingashoni ke is not involved with any party at all. I can assure you of that at least. For me as an individual I will let those who know me judge if I would ever join the madness of endless splinter parties that add no value to our politics. I am convinced maybe you are talking about something else or you are confusing the names. The Vuka Sive I am referring to can never and will never be a party" said the journalist.
Manqoba Nxumalo, Mbongeni Mbingo and Vuka Sive Constitution