A popular weekly column appearing in the
privately-owned Times of Swaziland newspaper which was critical of Swaziland’s
Tinkhundla traditional system of governance including the leadership of
King Mswati III, has been stopped because of what the newspaper claims are
structural adjustments of its content, according to an alert from Misa.

Times Managing Editor, Martin Dlamini has
said they recently took a decision to review the newspaper’s content and
Nkambule’s column was subsequently affected by the changes. 

Nkambule, an ex Cabinet Minister and
parliamentarian, has also confirmed that his articles will no longer appear in
the newspaper. Nkambule said the ban on his column was with effect from last
Monday, 27 April 2009. His is article did not appear last Monday 27 April. He
believes the newspaper was pressured to stop his articles.

 But the Times’ Managing Editor, Dlamini,
denies any pressure, saying Nkambule’s column has simply been affected by the
routine changes the newspaper was making with regards to

 Nkambule told MIS- Swaziland that he
personally took his article to the Times last week for publication but was told
of the ban without reasons being given.

 “I then received information from other
quarters that authorities have ordered the Times to stop publishing my articles.
Whatever threat they received might have been very serious as they simply told
me that my articles will no longer be published with no reasons being given,”
Nkambule said.


In the past three months Nkambule has been
under intense pressure from traditional authorities to stop writing his critical
column. He was even expelled from traditional regiments, where Nkambule was a
member, for his views. The traditional regiments are strong loyalists of King
Mswati III, Africa’s last absolute monarch. It will not be surprising if the
King, given his stranglehold over the media in Swaziland, has a hand in the ban
on Nkambule’s column. A MISA Swaziland study into censorship in Swaziland’s
newsrooms carried out in 2008 revealed that the monarchy is responsible for most
of the censorship, harassment and intimidation of journalists occurring in
Swaziland newsrooms.//