Mbabane: After strong critics, Vuma Reputation Management has withdrawn its services to Eswatini Government.
In a statement, Vuma Reputation Management stated that after several weeks of consultations they have made a decision to resign the Eswatini Government account.
This comes after Vuma Reputation Management has been under intense pressure on its position of advising government and on allegations of protecting the Kingdom of Eswatini, fabricating information regarding the oppression of the country.
This came to light after Frame Journalists who were in the country to cover the protest marches and the ongoing unrests were taken by police at Sigodvweni police station who interrogated them and forced them to delete critical evidence and footage they have recorded. New frame alleges that after publishing stories critical to the government exposing their ill-treatment in the hands of the police. New Frame alleged that Vuma Reputation Management contacted them trying to bend the narrative towards the highly oppressive police.
‘New Frame’ in a statement published on July 9, 2021, stated that it has been contacted by Vuma Reputation Management, a public relations firm based in Rosebank, Johannesburg, which represents the interests of the eSwatini state. New Frame stated that this was an organized effort to deny the plain fact that our journalists were tortured in the Sigodvweni police station and to circulate an entirely and demonstrable false account of events.
New Frame said they call on all South African media organizations to keep a critical and principled distance from Vuma Reputation Management and any other PR firm working in the interests of violently repressive dictatorships, saying there is a long and sordid history of PR firms working to legitimate tyrannical forms of power.
More pressure come when the public wanted to know Vuma’s position with regards to advising the government on the recent unrest.
In a statement issued on Sunday, Vuma Reputation Management stated that it has worked with the kingdom of Eswatini within the public and private sector since 2009. Vuma Reputation Management stated that from November 2019 they began working with the government on a very clear mandate to position the country to attract foreign direct investments with the aim of improving the local economy, a contract which was entered to with the late Prime Minister Ambrose Mandvulo Dlamini.
Vuma stated that they are an ethical company that works in line with various industry ethical codes and as communication and reputation management specialists they were no strangers to working within challenging situations.
Vuma said they were extremely sensitive to the current political climate in Eswatini and condemn all acts of violence let alone those involving trusted partners in the industry which is the media. Vuma denied ever requesting or attempting to manipulate the media to act unethically. It said New Frame will attest to that hence they reject any inferences to the contrary.