Durban — A bitter power struggle is looming between the newly appointed Zulu traditional prime minister, Thulasizwe Buthelezi, and the king’s head of communication and stakeholders, His Royal Highness Prince Africa of Onkweni Palace, over the control of the king’s communication.
The signs of a clash emerged at the first public appearance of the newly appointed prime minister on Monday who held a media briefing without the king’s spokesperson conducting the briefing.
In the same meeting, the prime minister announced that he had wrested control of the king’s communication to his office and anyone who issues a statement purporting to be on behalf of the king will have to do so via his office.
He said it was an instruction from the king that from now on no communication or engagement purporting to be from the king will be issued without a covering letter from the office of the traditional prime minister.
Buthelezi, who is also the Zululand District Municipality mayor, said this intervention was made to circumvent unscrupulous individuals who seek to abuse and misappropriate the logo, royal crest and even the signature of the king for their own fraudulent purposes.
The prime minister’s announcement was construed as stripping Prince Africa’s powers of speaking on behalf of the king as per his appointment in March last year thereby reducing him to be a media liaison officer under the prime minister’s office.
Prince Africa immediately dismissed the prime minister’s announcement, saying he was confusing his prime ministerial powers.
He said the communication under him was independent and separate from the prime minister’s office. Prince Africa argued that both he and the prime minister were appointed by the king and both directly reported to the king.
“I am head of communication and stakeholders and Buthelezi is the prime minister. What he said is tantamount to interfering with the work I do, so I urge him to stay in his lane and I will stay in mine as I am still the head of Communications and Stakeholders which also empowers me to speak on behalf of the king,” said the prince.
Last year the prince publicly clashed with the late traditional prime minister inkosi Mangosuthu Buthelezi when both issued varying statements on the king’s hospitalisation.
Earlier on Buthelezi had informed the nation that the king was allegedly poisoned and was hospitalised in Swaziland, but later on the same day Prince Africa issued a counter statement saying the king was fine and had to go to hospital for a routine check up.
A few days later, the prince released a video clip where the king himself denied that he was sick.
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