Sandile Phakathi of the People’s United Democratic Movement(PUDEMO) who was invited to provide a political lecture was spot-on until he called pro-democracy Honorable Members of Parliament(MPs) “boys”.
Perhaps, Phakathi was not aware that MPs Bacede Mabuza, Mthandeni Dube and Mduduzi Magawugawu Simelane risked their well-being, Parliamentary positions to fight for the liberation of the people; to call them boys who hijacked the struggle was a serious belittling statement that cannot be acceptable from a political leader.
Among these MPs is a millionaire, who left the comfort of his mansions and decided to stand with the poor, as you read this, he is behind bars with MP Mthandeni Dube while MP Magawugawu was removed and is in exile.
In as much as PUDEMO members suffered for years at the hands of the regime, we cannot overlook the sacrifice by other emerging political leaders whose contribution advanced the calls for democratic reforms.
The lack of political tolerance among some leaders of the pro-democracy movement should be put to an end, the calls for democratic reforms should be a collective effort from all forces, that’s why as the media it is our duty to monitor the conduct of all political leaders
But then we need to applaud the leadership demonstrated by PUDEMO President Mlungisi Makhaya who quickly called Phakathi to order during the live lecture, but that was not enough.
Calling the Honorable pro-democracy MPs “boys” who are hijacking the struggle was not only an insult to the people who elected them but the entire pro-democracy movement.
It should be noted that in as much as we need to call some of these pro-democracy MPs to order when they erred, veterans in the struggle for democracy must know that you cannot write the history of the struggle without mentioning their names. Indeed, they have and continue to play a huge role in as far as the liberation of the people is concerned.
It seems like the Executive of PUDEMO made a huge mistake by inviting Phakathi who used the media to undermine the integrity of the pro-democracy MPs, apart from being political leaders, these are heads of families, only for him to call them “boys”.
In politics we must debate, agree and disagree in principle without undermining one another, the problem starts when some activists like Phakathi elevate themselves as superior just because they are PUDEMO members.
In conclusion, it is advisable for PUDEMO to issue a formal public apology to the three pro-democracy MPs, as much as we need unity in the journey to a free and democratic society, we must be critical of people whose conduct undermines our permanent interest. Our permanent interest as Swazis is FREEDOM from royal supremacy.
PUDEMO’s Sandile Phakathi.