The establishment of institutions that subscribe to accountability of public power should influence our democratic discourse.
Perhaps, it is worth mentioning that as we advocate for democracy, we shall start now to hold political leaders accountable and further scrutinize the policies of their political parties, Non Governmental Organizations(NGOs) and trade unions among others to ascertain if they were grounded under the principles and values of accountability.
Indeed, one of the fundamental values and principles of public administration is transparency.
As the media, we would be failing dismally in our duties if we would give special treatment to political parties and trade unions leaders,they must now learn to account so that the people can decide and identify true future leaders.
In eSwatini, we have various political parties who aspire to lead this country under a new democratic government, as independent journalists, we will monitor each and every leader to ascertain if he or she is fit to hold public office.
Constitutionally, the power of the media as the fourth estate should be exercised independently and it seeks to hold the Executive, Legislative, Judiciary and all public institutions accountable to the people.
As independent journalists, we don’t write articles to sound popular or to accumulate more LIKES on social media, when we started criticizing Mswati, his followers firstly thought we were being unSwazi.
But based on the fact that Mswati is a Head of State with absolute control over almost all the key institutions in the public administration, he can never be immune to criticism and the people later realized the significance establishing democratic institutions.
In fact, like Mswati, even leaders of political parties have followers but that doesn't mean we will be intimidated by their following not to do our job as journalists.
Former President of the United States Donald Trump once tried to attack the media and further influenced his followers to do the same, but because the media is a globally institution, it’s permanent mandate cannot be easily influenced.
Anyone who grabs a piece of public power either through Tinkhundla elections or the Mass Democratic Movement(MDM) must subscribe to transparency, openness and accountability as per the basic values and principles of public administration.
Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, once we remove Mswati, we need leaders who will subject themselves to criticism by the media, the public and further be open to accountability.
The calls for democracy suggests that we want to be liberated from King Mswati’s regime and be ushered into a new democratic dispensation through the establishment of institutions that subscribe to democratic principles and values.
Personally, I don’t have any problem with criticism and I will never be intimidated.
Journalism is not for cowards who can be easily be influenced, this is an institution that drives the political agenda to liberate this country, it will exist even in the new democratic dispensation as a watchdog.
The assertion or expectations suggesting that the independent media must criticize Mswati or royalty and be lenient on political leaders is absolute ‘nonsense’, that would mean the media is captured by the Mass Democratic Movement(MDM).
Then if we allow the political leaders to capture us now, how are we going to hold them accountable once they taste power in the coming new democratic government?
While it is part of the independent media’s mandate to promote democracy, it is and should never be a ‘darling’ of any political party, as an institution, it must mantain its independence.
In conclusion, it is of paramount importance to state that as we advocate for democracy, we must uphold democratic principles and values, the independent media will be here as a watchdog, there would be no ‘political romance’ for anyone who holds or aspire to hold public office.
A mass protest in eSwatini.