SNAT calls for nation-wide boycott of King Mswati’s propaganda newspaper



BY : ZWELI MARTIN DLAMINI

JOHANNESBURG: The National Executive Committee (NEC) of the Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT) has called upon its members, student and parents to embark on a nation-wide boycott of King Mswati’s main propaganda newspaper, the Swazi Observer. This decision by the NEC, if endorsed and implemented by the teachers and stakeholders might hit hard on the coffers of the financial struggling newspaper that is reported to be printing about 7000 copies per day. SNAT is one of Swaziland’s largest workers unions with over 14000 members and it commands influence over parents and pupils among others. The tough decision by the teachers union comes after the King’s Tibiyo TakaNgwane owned newspaper sent journalists to “spy” on a teachers meeting held at SNAT Centre and subsequently published a misleading report with pictures implying that Maxwell Myeni intentionally attacked a senior police officer Raphael “Skheshekheshe” Maseko when in fact he tried to stop him from firing more bullets on un-armed teachers. As a result Myeni was arrested while the Manzini Station Commander was allowed to shot at un-armed teachers with impunity, the former is currently out on R7000 bail granted by the Manzini Magistrate court.

Zweli Mndzebele, the SNAT Secretary General said they have engaged the newspaper and communicated their loss of trust in them. “State categorically that we have noted the skewed and incorrect reporting that has always been done by the Swazi Observer every time we are having activities as SNAT. We have communicated our loss of trust in them as an organization” he said.

The Swazi regime through the Royal Swaziland Police has been using an investigation strategy of assigning known journalists to collect information for the Intelligence Unit during protest marches and meetings of the Civil Society and some of these scribes were later rewarded with jobs in the three armed forces.

But the SNAT Executive Committe released a statement saying they have had enough of the intentional misleading information being spread by the King’s newspaper about their organization and members. “SNAT NEC therefore calls upon all her members never again to buy any edition of the Swazi Observer henceforth. As individuals, as Schools as members of SNAT and as members of society, we are saying enough is enough. Let us stop supporting a publication that peddles lies about SNAT and her members both locally and internationally,” read the statement.

It has been noted that over the years, the security forces has been recruiting journalists who performed well in spreading propaganda to protect the regime at the expense of the struggling workers. Mbongeni Mbingo, the Swazi Observer Managing editor’s salary is paid by Tibiyo TakaNgwane, a multi-billion company owned by King Mswati.

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