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Popular weekly column cancelled

(MISA/IFEX) - A popular weekly column appearing in the privately-owned "Times of Swaziland" newspaper that was critical of Swaziland's traditional Tinkhundla 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.

"Times" managing editor Martin Dlamini said they recently took a decision to review the newspaper's content and Mfomfo 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 in effect from 27 April 2009. He believes the newspaper was pressured to stop his articles.

But Dlamini denied any pressure, saying Nkambule's column had simply been affected by the routine changes the newspaper was making with regards to content.

Nkambule told MISA-Swaziland that he personally took his article to the "Times" for publication last week and was told of the ban with no reason 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.

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