CPS on misleading reports by the Times of Swaziland newspaper

Communist Party of Swaziland statement on media smear campaign
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The Communist Party of Swaziland (CPS) takes this opportunity to condemn the Times of Swaziland newspaper for publishing misleading information about the CPS Summer School held 17-27 December 2021.

About two weeks ago on its Sunday edition, the Times deliberately misled its readers that it had obtained a ‘leaked’ CPS document purporting that the CPS School was attended by first year William Pitcher College students. The Times claimed that the students were trained to sabotage the state by attacking and disarming the police, cutting electricity poles, cutting water pipes, conducting money heists, among other acts.

This so-called ‘leaked’ document does not belong to the CPS. It does not exist in both internal and public communications of the CPS. It can only be a result of an invention by tinkhundla intelligence operatives, which the Times may be a part of or chief player therein.

The Times’ deceptive narrative has exposed the students to police witch hunts, along with random arrests and assaults, in addition to victimisation by the college’s administration and the state. It also appears that the aim of the Times is to help the state convict some of the youth that have already been arrested and charged with some of the acts listed by the Times.

Despite the CPS taking steps to engage directly with the reporter of the story, Mhlonishwa Motsa, with the intention to correct the details of their story, the Times Sunday editor, Thobeka Manyathela, continues to mislead readers. On Sunday 30 January 2022, the editor reiterated the misleading claim that the Times “obtained this information from a document belonging to the CPS and went on to verify its authenticity before publishing the story.” She also made the erroneous claim that “CPS leaders have not complained about the story”, thus the Times stands by it.

A few days earlier, on 26 January 2022, the Times editor misled the world by claiming that the CPS leadership had confirmed the said document as genuine.

It appears that the Times is doing what many other oppressive states’ propaganda machineries have often done; to repeatedly tell the lie hoping it transforms into truth! Thankfully, in this case, we are here to set the record straight!

This so-called document does not exist, except, perhaps, in the Times editors’ figment of imagination. In any of the communications with the Times reporter, the CPS leadership never confirmed the existence of this document.

In fact, in the initial questionnaire sent to the CPS on 14 January 2022, the Times did not state that they were basing their claims on a CPS document, and neither did they share the details of this so-called ‘leaked’ document.

Instead, the CPS leadership had to respond to this question from the Times: “We understand that first year students from William Pitcher Training College were a part of the summer school, would you please explain the nature of your (CPS) relationship or engagement agreement with them.”

As such, there was no mention of a CPS ‘leaked’ document, and, needless to say, the leadership could not have responded directly to it as well as any matter resulting from the said ‘document’. Till this day, the Times has not made the effort to furnish us with this so-called ‘leaked’ document.

The CPS reiterates its position that students reserve the right to fight for their rights, both as students and as members of the community – because they are members of the community before they are students. In this regard, students reserve the right to join any political formation of their choice as well as partake in political activities. The Times must desist from criminalising these rights.

The CPS calls upon all students and the youth to strengthen their unity against the state’s malicious propaganda and continue to intensify the fight for democracy.

The tinkhundla regime’s lies shall be defeated, the people’s truth shall prevail!

Issued by the Communist Party of Swaziland

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