from SAMBULO DLAMINI in Mbabane, Eswatini
MBABANE, (CAJ News) – ESWATINI has emerged among the worst violators of press freedom during the COVID-19 crisis in Southern Africa.
This after a newspaper editor has been declared wanted for alleging King Mswati III contracted coronavirus (COVID-19) and another editor detained for his criticism of the king’s health strategy during the crisis.
According to news reports, the editor of the Swaziland News, Zweli Dlamini, is also reportedly wanted by the police because of his reporting that Mswati III (aged 52) was sick with the virus.
Dlamini had not handed himself over to the police.
There have been news reports in the Southern African country that the king has been unwell.
It is understood authorities in the former Swaziland have launched a witch hunt against anyone who connects the monarch to COVID-19.
Meanwhile, police recently detained Eugen Dube, journalist and editor of Swati Newsweek Online, for hours.
The detention followed an article he wrote that the King’s public health strategy in the face of COVID-19 was “reckless” because the country had no social distancing measures in place.
Authorities reportedly tried to charge him for ‘writing ill’ about King Mswati III.
This could constitute high treason in a country where criticism of the king is taboo.
Last month, Mswati was reportedly admitted to hospital with breathing difficulties.
It has been reported he came into contact with visiting Taiwanese soldiers later quarantined for COVID-19 in March.
His condition was described as critical but the government has refuted the reports as fake news.
Eswatini has confirmed 112 cases and a single death from COVID-19.
– CAJ News