NHLANGANO:Top eSwatini investigative journalist Eugene Dube sustained head injuries after a battalion of armed police arrived at his home in Nhlangano on Thursday seeking answers regarding critical articles he published about King Mswati.
The articles were published in the newly formed Swati Newsweek that went off-online shortly after the King’s police launched a crackdown on independent journalists who are critical on the absolute Monarch.
Speaking to this Swaziland News, the journalist said he sustained the head injuries after he tried to escape through the window upon receiving a call from a relative who alerted him that his home was surrounded by men heavily armed with guns. He said at first, he was not aware that these were police officers as they were not in uniform hence the decision to try and escape.
“They arrived here early in the morning and I was alerted by a relative through a phone call that my house was surrounded by men armed with guns. I tried to escape through the window, but they managed to grab me, that was when they introduced themselves as police officers. They said they wanted me in connection with articles published about the King and thereafter forced me into the house where they seized my laptop, cell phones and other electronic gadgets” he said.
The journalist said he was then taken to Nhlangano Police Station where he was questioned about two articles titled: “King reckless on Swazis health” and “Removing King is possible”.
“The police informed me that I was facing a treason charge for publishing the articles about the King and after the questioning I was taken to the Magistrate court where they advised that I confess to committing the crime. I politely asked the Magistrate to at least allow me to seek services of a lawyer” he said
Reached for comments, Superintendent Phindile Valakati, the police Spokesperson said she will check first provide information to this publication on the possible charges that might be faced by the journalist. Even though the eSwatini Constitution guarantees press freedom, it is regarded as a serious crime to criticise Mswati on issues of public administration.
Top investigative journalist Eugene Dube