''This man cannot lead.''

This is the chilling assessment of SWALIMO Chairperson Busie Mayisela.

Turmoil within the recently formed Swaziland Liberation Movement (SWALIMO) has taken a new twist after the leaking of an audio clip where the Chairperson of the party, Busie Mayisela and Secretary General Dr Siphetfo Dlamini were heard discussing challenges facing the party and making scathing assessment of the leadership style of their President Mduduzi Magawugawu Simelane.

Simelane is the founding President of SWALIMO and former Siphofaneni Member of Parliament while Mayisela is a former businesswoman and Dr Siphetfo an academic. The three occupy the top positions in the party as President, Chairperson and Secretary General respectively. 

Recently, the party has been hogging headlines after the suspension and subsequent resignation of their Manzini District leader Brian Sihlongonyane. Sihlongonyane raised critical issues on procedural fairness of his suspension, arguing that the absence of a constitution to guide the operations of the party and to confer powers to office bearers made it impossible for their National Executive Committee (NEC) to effect a suspension.

Previously, he had been at loggerheads with Simelane on the arbitrary appointment of the organization's National Spokesperson Thantaza Silolo, the lack of the constitution to guide operations of the party and the failure to call a national congress. 

Subsequently, Lubombo district leader and former gospel artist Mzwakhe Myeni was suspended after he allegedly forged signatures of other regional leaders, claiming they wanted Sihlongonyane reinstated. The Bridge has been given an almost hour long conversation between what has been identified as Dr Dlamini and Mayisela where they reveal some of the challenges of the party, to a point that the SWALIMO chairperson even claims that having Simelane lead the country would be a disaster.

I am really trying to gather in my mind with all that is happening what kind of Swaziland we are looking for...Unfortunately, because we are close to the President we are realizing a lot of things…I for one look into the future. There is nothing this man can lead. This man cannot lead the country,” Mayisela says in the audio.

The Bridge cannot independently verify the date of the discussion as heard in this audio clip. The clip has a third person identified as Mabuza but who is christened agent 001 throughpout the conversations. There are other critical issues raised about Simelane, his style of leadership, their frustration in the way the party is led and how they were on survival mode. 

We asked ourselves how long are we going to be worshiping and praising something we know is going to hit an iceberg. At some point, I raised my voice, shouted and asked: do you comrades have an idea what is an SG in an organisation? I screamed and shouted out of frustration…The Chairperson is a victim of that as well. It is not like we like this. We do not share this with you because, for the longest of times, we have always believed these are family secrets and that they must not be revealed to the world,” says Dr Dlamini in the audio chuckling in between.

Dr Dlamini goes on to state that, despite his frustrations, he will stay in the organisation and fight from within until their President fires them. “As long angakasho nje kutsi 'in my organisation' I will be happy. Otherwise, I don’t want to say it is tough because I am an optimist,” he adds. The more scathing assessment of the President comes from Mayisela who says she does not think Simelane would make for a good leader of the country.

The three go on a wild rant about challenges of working with Simelane and the internal issues facing the party. What becomes pulpable throughout the audio is the level of frustration the party leaders feel. They accuse Simelane of being too individualistic and modelling the party around his image, something that they feel has rendered them ‘enemies’ to some people within the party.

The Bridge noted the denials from Dr Dlamini and Mayisela on their social net story and contacted the party’s Spokesperson Thandaza Silolo for an official comment on the story. In his response, Silolo indicated that they were disappointment that as a 'supposedly pro-democratic media house' The Bridge had access to personal conversations of political leaders, which in his view was unethical, and the purpose thereof in seeking to expose personal conversations with a view to make them public.

"As a democratic movement be informed that our leaders or members are at liberty to converse and privately talk to each other on whatever political issues including the movement and its leadership as active political players. On this note, the movement will not be held at randsome (sp) or be blackmailed by any media house in this case, which seems to be abusing its platforms and the people for reasons best known to yourselves. It is therefore at your discretion to release any amount of audios or recordings if you think those are adding value or positively contributing to the ultimate goal of liberating our people. SWALIMO continues getting stronger everyday to ensure it fulfils its objectives and goals for freedom and liberation," Silolo said in a statement. 

Silolo's views were a complete departure from the initial denials flagged on social media. 

NB: As an ethical, independent and fearless publication The Bridge Directors will issue a statement on why it published the story. This follows spirited campaign aimed at discrediting our publication, questioning our intention and the motive for the story. SWALIMO was alerted that, even though there was a temptation to release the full audio to show that we were not making things up, the editorial team decided against it on the basis that there was no malice intended, save for the fact that the story was newsworthy and in the public interest. We ask our readers to not kill the messenger. We, therefore, will stand by our story.