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MPs not to blame, POCA a product of political manipulation.

Tuesday, 21st July, 2020

The Prevention of Organized Crime Act (POCA) is not only unconstitutional but also a product of political manipulation in that Cabinet and the authorities of the country subjected the Members of Parliament who were new in politics at the time to pass the Bill into law under duress. 

Perhaps, let me hasten to state that before we even blame these MPs for passing the Bill into law back in 2018, we need to understand that some of them were ‘political virgins’ with no understanding of Parliament procedures, not to mention their powers and subsequent consequences of the law, they were never given time to apply their minds in the legislative process.

When Andrew LeRoux, the President of Business Eswatini and Executive Director at Montigny Investments made comments on Swaziland News Facebook page suggesting that these very same MPs who passed the law are now summersaulting, maybe, he needs to fairly conduct a research how the law came into being so he can comment on an informed perspective and or with clear understanding of our political landscape. 

LeRoux, like all capitalists, will never support projects that seeks to empower the dagga farmers at grassroots level, for him, emaSwati should remain poor so they can continue to seek for employment at Montigny where they are paid peanuts. 

Parliament is the only arm of government where the people are well represented and as such, MPs have a right to pass laws and subsequently review those legislations depending on public reactions. It is therefore unjust to criticize MPs for reviewing laws as this is within their powers, they can even pass a law today and change their minds the following day particularly were that law has been hijacked by political elements to suppress the people.

The POCA law that give powers to the State to seize properties of suspects undermines the right to human dignity especially where the law-enforcers grab even private items like beds, microwaves, clothes and a home on Swazi Nation Land, this is more like killing the person merely on suspicion that he or she committed a crime.

 It should be understood that in our culture, a home on Swazi Nation Land (SNL) represents our true identity as emaSwati, we have our forefather’s graves there and grazing lands that brings back our childhood memories. We pride ourselves on our culture, who then is Pholile Shakantu and her corrupt gang to deprive us those memories? I am not supporting crime but let me state clearly that even if a suspect built a house on SNL, the State should exercise restraint, loyo muntfu noma agangile usuke asabalekele endlini kaGogo by settling on that land hence other means to punish him should be considered. The reason we are slowly losing respect for King Mswati and his political clique including traditional leaders is that they always use Customary Law only when it suits them but Siswati is never used to protect the poor and powerless like widows, orphans and dagga farmers from injustice subjected to them by those in power. 

We need to understand the difficulties these people go through to earn a living. The same government implementing this unconstitutional law is falling to provide employment and other social services for emaSwati. But then, government must know that it will never be easy to grab a home and remove citizens from the land of their forefathers, whether that home was built with money sourced from dagga farming or not, any law that empowers the State to undermine our true identity as a Nation and human dignity should be thrown into the political dustbin.  

It worth mentioning that we have one of the most vibrant Parliament this time around but it is undermined by the political manipulation driven by Attorney General Sifiso Khumalo and the sooner these MPs understand that they have a legal obligation to accept or reject advice from the AG, they will drive their mandate to represent the people and hold the Executive accountable. 

In conclusion, let me thank all editors from the various media houses who stood firmly against this POCA injustice. As editors, we may have different views but unity and speaking in one voice against any social and economic injustice particularly where the lives of the poor are at stake is significant.   

 

MPs not to blame, POCA a product of political manipulation.
Houses of Parliament