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OPINION: Sibaya not a democratic forum but “Indlu yaka-Gogo” where the King reduces citizens into family members and impose a Prime Minister.

Friday, 20th October, 2023

Growing-up I had a privilege of sitting next to my grandfather Prince Mgungu during Family Court proceedings “Endlini ka-Gogo”, he was chairing all our family meetings in terms of Swazi Law and Custom.

My grandfather was a former National Court President(Ndabazabantu) having been appointed by the late King Sobhuza II, he was well-versed with issues of Swazi Law and Custom and resolving domestic conflicts.

Sibaya is more like “Indlu yaka-Gogo” where the King reduces citizens of this country into his family members and impose a Prime Minister(PM), in the process he calls that democracy.

Indeed,there are similarities between the proceedings of Sibaya and the discussions we used to have “Endlini ka-Gogo”, my grandfather as the Head of the Family of Prince Msimudze’s Lusendvo used to chair the proceedings and issue judgements.

But that would be done after “Kubhunga”, and/or expression of views, the difference in our case was that, the judgements of the Family Court were respected by all family members.

But in the context of Sibaya, it is an insult to the citizens of this country to reduce their political thinking into the level of a Family Court or Forum referred to as “Sibaya, the highest decision making arena”.

Politics is about debates and competition to contest power and public power is subject to accountability, it is far different from the rules that regulate engagements “Endlini ka-Gogo”.

What is the significance of calling the citizens to Sibaya when you know very well who you want to appoint as a Prime Minister?.

Mswati is fooling the Nation, Sibaya is nothing but a mockery of democracy.

It would have been different if it was established as a platform for the Dlaminis to discuss their family issues not to take decisions for the entire country.

My grandfather once appeared before the Ludzidzini Council and they clashed with Princess Tfobhi who wanted to grab our land that was allocated by the late King to Prince Msimudze.

The Ludzidzini Council ruled in our favour, Sibaya should be a platform for the Dlaminis to discuss and resolve their issues because we have many unresolved disputes among ourselves.

This country cannot be a Dlamini property, eSwatini must be democratized and the citizens must be allowed to elect their own Government not to be subjects of the ruling Dlamini clan.

The institution of the Monarchy can exist in a democratic dispensation if the citizens wants it but, without interfering in the political affairs or administration of government.

But I was encouraged upon hearing the King expressing concerns regarding the high level of poverty and/or scarcity of jobs in the country, at least he is now adapting to realities and maybe, one day he will invite those calling for democracy to participate in a political dialogue.

King Mswati has just summoned the Nation to “Endlini ka-Gogo”, this forum is known as “Sibaya” and that is where citizens convey to listen to him imposing a Prime Minister of his choice.

The truth is,we are emaSwati, we cannot discourage our way of life, “Indlu yaka-Gogo” is one of the best platforms to discuss family issues and dialogue.

But Sibaya, a forum equivalent to “Indlu yaka-Gogo” cannot be a democratic forum where Swazi Law and Custom is manipulated to impose political decisions that impact the lives of the people without fair processes that include democratic elections.

Worth-noting, if all the citizens who will attend Sibaya can call for the release of Mduduzi Bacede Mabuza and be appointed a Prime Minister, or speak in one voice saying they want Sibongile Mazibuko, the President of the Ngwane National Liberatory Congress(NNLC) to be the PM, Mswati cannot implement those demands.

I don’t remember even one decision that was implemented after Sibaya submissions or recommendations.

What happened is that, Mswati re-appointed the then Prime Minister Sibusiso Dlamini after Sibaya called for his dismissal and the removal of Circular No 1 of 2010, a document that awarded politicians lucrative benefits at the expense of the poor citizens.

Therefore, referring to Sibaya as a democratic and the highest decision making institution is nothing but a mockery of democracy,

A political dialogue, drafting of a new Constitution and the establishment of a legal framework that will regulate a Transitional Authority pending negotiations is the solution.

This country cannot be reduced into a royal family property where issues are discussed “Endlini ka-Gogo”, disguised as Sibaya.

OPINION: Sibaya not a democratic forum but “Indlu yaka-Gogo” where the King reduces citizens into family members and impose a Prime Minister.
King Mswati(pic: PHOTO: Darren Stewart/Gallo Images).