Swaziland’s Foreign Affairs Minister Chief Mgwagwa Gamedze is angry that copies of the Nation magazine, which carries articles advocating for democracy in the kingdom, were found at King Mswati III Airport and on board a plane flying to South Africa.
The magazine, which is legally available throughout Swaziland, was spotted by Swazi Senator Bonsile Mngometulu.
According to a report in the Swazi Observer, a newspaper in effect owned by King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, she, ‘questioned the vigilance of the KMIII International Airport authorities’.
The newspaper reported, ‘She said the March issue of the magazine carried defamatory articles about the country yet the authorities of the Swaziland Civil Aviation Authority (SWACAA) allowed it to be placed there. She did not specify on the contents of the article but said it was capable of damaging the image of the country and further turn away potential investors.’
Among the articles published in the March 2015 edition of the Nation was one about the role King Mswati played in the closure of an iron ore mining company at Ngwenya.
Mngometulu said police should have prevented the magazine being distributed at the airport. She was speaking at a briefing between the senate portfolio committee and the ministry of foreign affairs and international cooperation on Wednesday (15 April 2015).
Presently, Bheki Makhubu, the editor of the Nation, and human rights lawyer and writer Thulani Maseko are serving two years in jail after writing and publishing articles critical of the judiciary in the magazine.
The Observer reported that Chief Gamedze, ‘said that the authorities should have detected that there was something wrong and prevented the distribution of the magazine in the aircraft.
‘He agreed it was a situation that needed to be prevented but said such was the responsibility of another ministry.’
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