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Sunday, 21 March 2010

SCCCO REPLY TO ‘SWAZI NEWS’ ATTACK

The following is the text of a letter sent to the Times Sunday, the stablemate publication of the Swazi News following a report claiming the Swaziland Coalition of Concerned Civic Organizations (SCCCO) was being financed by a German billionaire.


The Editor,

Times Sunday,

P.O. Box 156,

Mbabane.

Swaziland.


Dear Sir,


Re: Erroneous Reporting.


We write to bring to your attention, a totally misleading article, in the front page of the Swazi News of Saturday, 20th March,2010. The article is purported to have sourced part of its information from our National Co Ordinator, Mr. Musa I.N. Hlophe, about a German billionaire who is supposed to be funding progressives.


We wish to disassociate ourselves with this kind of shoddy and malicious journalism, and that the Coalition has never laid claim to being “progressive”. Therefore, if any German Billionaire came to Swaziland to fund some progressives, that person did not meet the Coalition. The Swazi News’ anonymous source within the Coalition was either mistaken or a figment of the journalist’s imagination. We certainly talked to the so called journalist Masuku about a visit from our solidarity partner Bread for the World, a Christian Foundation, funded by German Christian organizations, made mainly of older generation, most of whom survived the last World War. Bread for the World is not funded [by] any millionaire, let alone billionaires.


Therefore we find this kind of reporting to be aimed at frustrating funding efforts by Civil Society Organizations in Swaziland, thus supporting the agenda for Government to brand civil society as some sort of foreign threat to the country’s stability. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Coalition’s Board is 100% loyal Swazi.


It must be remembered that this is not the first time this publication publishes stories that are completely false about our sources of funding. Last year, at about this time, it was The Swazi News and others that alleged that the Coalition was being funded, in millions dollars, by the Americans. And yet this was a lie, we had a non financial relationship with Freedom House, not a bottomless pit funded by the American Government..


While the Coalition champions freedom of expression and information and will grant interviews with any responsible journalist, it however, may find it difficult to offer interviews to journalists who appear to have double agendas, aimed at destabilizing the work of the Coalition and its partners through the peddling of cheap lies. We expect better from the Times Group than this.


Yours sincerely,

Musa I.N. Hlophe,

CO ORDINATOR.

SCCCO

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