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PASTOR REPORTS BABY MAMA TO COPS OVER LADIES HOUSE POSTS

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MBABANE – A man has laid a complaint with the police over a derogatory post on Facebook’s popular page, known as Ladies House Eswatini.

*Mbongiseni of Mliba, who is also a pastor, Gospel artist and promoter, reported to the Manzini Police Station on Monday that he was being harassed by the mother  of his 11-year-old child *Nompilo, who alleged that he was an absent father. Information gathered was to the effect that the social media ‘harassment’ started early this year. Before that, the two had been constantly quarrelling over child maintenance issues. In an interview, the man claimed that the abuse started immediately after the death of popular South African Rapper Kiernan Forbes, who was also known as AKA. Mbongiseni produced a post that he alleged was posted by the mother of his child, where she stated that he should have died instead of AKA. The post was posted in the Ladies House Eswatini group. This is a popular controversial group on Facebook known for its adult content as well as its penchant for accusing men of infidelity and running away from parenting responsibilities. It also exposes alleged scammers.

Post

The first post that appeared on February 20 read: “Kuze kufe indvondza lenaka umntfwanayo nkosiyami. Kube mane kufe (name withheld) lohlala eBuhleni ngabe kunani jovongcwele.”
This loosely translates to mean: “I lament the death of a man who cared for his child (AKA), instead of (Mbongiseni) who stays at Buhleni, dear God.” The post was then followed by a number of comments, some of which were derogatory, while others asked the poster why she had not involved the man’s parents. Those who knew Nompilo personally condemned her for posting such, while others were hyping her and demanded that she revealed more information about him. The next post was Mbongiseni’s picture, which was captioned ‘here is the man of God who does not pay child support’. These posts, according to Mbongiseni, were followed by a series of derogatory posts.

When he was asked why the mother of his child made such allegations about him, he mentioned several reasons.  Firstly, he alleged that Nompilo took the child from his custody and ran away with her. He said he had not had access to his child for quite some time because she had been smuggled to South Africa, where she was also schooling. Secondly, he said he learnt that his daughter was using another man’s surname, not his or her mother’s surname. He said that created more questions for him. Having said that, Mbongiseni said when Nompilo was pregnant, her family reported the pregnancy to his family and he never denied it. He stated that the reason he ended up going to report her to the police was that he felt that he was losing his temper and was at the verge of doing something he would regret. “Inasmuch as I do not have a stable income, I am a man and cannot run away from my responsibilities. I do not know what she is planning to achieve by insulting me on Facebook,” he said.

Information gathered was that law enforcers had made means to speak to Nompilo but she was out of the country, therefore, she could not be reached. Deputy Chief Police Information and Communications Officer Inspector Nosipho Mnguni said a formal charge had not been laid against the poster. She confirmed, however, that Mbongiseni had laid a complaint about the harassment he was receiving on Facebook to the police. Worth noting, the tendency of posting people on social media, particularly on Facebook, amounts to criminal defamation and possible jail time. The law defines criminal defamation as the unlawful and intentional publication of a matter concerning another, which tends to injure his/her reputation. The case-law suggests that words are defamatory if they tend to expose a person to hatred, contempt or ridicule, or if they tend to diminish the esteem in which the person to whom they refer to is held by others.

Section 17 (1) of the Computer Crime and Cybercrime Act 2022, states that a person who intentionally engages, or solicits or abets another in the furtherance of cyber bullying of another person commits an offence and is liable, on conviction to a fine not exceeding E100 000 or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding two years. Section 28 of the same Act stipulates that a person who intentionally and without lawful excuse or justification or in excess of a lawful excuse or justification initiates any electronic communication, with the intention to coerce, intimidate, insult, harass, or cause emotional distress to a person using a computer system, to support hostile behaviour, commits an offence and is liable, on conviction to a fine not exceeding E100 000 or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding five years.

NB: Pseudonyms used to protect the minor involved in the matter and that no one has been charged for any offence for now.

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