By Sifiso Sibandze
. . . Alec, Welcome, ‘Mdockies’ join the league of Boris Johnson, Benito Mussolini, Hellen Zille
Veteran scribes in Rubicon Media Group Managing Editor Alec Lushaba, Times of Eswatini seasoned Political Journalist Welcome Dlamini and radio journalist Nathi ‘Mdockies’ Hlophe have joined the historic bandwagon of big journalists who turned political gurus.
The three Eswatini journalists who successfully forced their way into parliament are joining the likes of celebrated politicians who are journalists by profession including former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, former Italian Prime Minister Benito Mussolini, former British PM, Winston Churchill, Ruth Davidson, Nigel Lawson and Hellen Zille, former DA President and a former journalist and anti-apartheid activist.
Other journalists who switched to politics in the country include former broadcast journalist Marwick Khumalo, former broadcast journalist Sigayoyo Charles Magongo, and former broadcast journalist Rogers Mamba to mention a few.
Briefly about some of the renowned former journalists who became politicians:
1. Boris Johnson – He attended Eton College and studied Classics at Balliol College, Oxford. He was elected president of the Oxford Union in 1986. In 1989, he became the Brussels correspondent – and later political columnist – for The Daily Telegraph, and from 1999 to 2005 he was the editor of The Spectator. Following his election to Parliament in 2001, he became a member of the shadow cabinets of Michael Howard and later David Cameron.
2. Hellen Zille – She is a former journalist and anti-apartheid activist and was one of the journalists who exposed the cover-up around the death of Black Consciousness leader Steve Biko while working for the Rand Daily Mail in the late 1970s.
3. Winston Churchill – Correspondent for The Morning Post for a year during the Boer war, and thus just qualifying for this list, which is of people whose main job was as a journalist and who were significant political leaders.
4. Ruth Davidson – Glenrothes Gazette, Kingdom FM, Real Radio and BBC Scotland: producer, presenter and reporter for seven years. Member of the Scottish Parliament and leader of the Scottish Conservatives, since 2011.
5. Nigel Lawson – Financial Times, Sunday Telegraph, editor of The Spectator, 1966-70. Chancellor of the Exchequer, 1983-89.
6. Benito Mussolini – He briefly edited two Socialist Party newspapers.
7. Ed Balls – Financial Times, leader-writer, 1990-94. From Janice Morphet, who also nominated Yvette Cooper, The Independent, economics correspondent from 1995, leader-writer (with me) and European economics editor, 1997.
8. Jim Hacker – Editor of the newspaper Reform, minister at the Department of Administrative Affairs and later Prime Minister.
9. Michael Foot – “It is not too well known that he edited the Evening Standard during the Second World War,” says Paul T. Horgan. Also, put forward by Paul Frame and Paul Waugh.
10. Horatio Bottomley – “Financier, journalist, editor, newspaper proprietor, swindler and MP,” says Robert Hutton, quoting from Wikipedia.
11. Sarah Palin – Started as a sports journalist and broadcaster, notes Chris Jones. Sportscaster for KTUU-TV and KTVA-TV in Anchorage; sports reporter for the Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman, also in Alaska, 1987-88.
12. Bill Deedes – The only person to date to have been both a cabinet minister, 1962-64, and the editor of a national newspaper, The Daily Telegraph, 1974-86.