One of the reasons some Members of Parliament(MPs) are financially struggling is that they use their salaries to feed the thousands of citizens who are sinking in poverty as a result of government's failure to fulfil social obligations, this should be addressed as a matter of urgency to protect the status of being an MP and the dignity of Parliament.
Even though feeding the poor is part of our Buntfu as Emaswati, as a Nation, we need to start analysing this political system so we can understand why some MPs become beggars once they leave politics, this has been happening for the past years and we cannot blame it on individuals, it is the Tinkhundla system whose political objective is push citizens into poverty this include even politicians who served it diligently.
Firstly, to address this problem, we need to remind MPs that the salaries they receive from government was meant to take care of themselves and their families, it’s not a social grant, their role in this regard is to move motions, influence laws and policies that seek to make sure the citizens enjoy a better life. On the hand the people should refrain from judging the performance of an MP based on food parcels and gifts, the role of an MP is to influence laws and or policies in the public interest and these policies should result to, among others, the payment of elderly and disabled grants, scholarships, construction of infrastructure to attract investors and create jobs for a better life for all.
Most people in various communities believe once you become an MP, you are automatically loaded with cash, they come from all corners to flood MPs with financial requests and we can’t blame them because these are their direct representatives in government, however, as the media, we have the journalistic mandate to educate them about politics and the role of an MP.
It is of paramount importance to state that the Tinkhundla system was designed to blind the people so they can selectively blame their MPs for their sufferings when we know the King’s government never prioritises the needs of the people, after all, Cabinet including Senate is dominated by appointed individuals with no experience of standing for elections and campaigning for political positions. The political monster here who contributed to the sufferings of the people is King Mswati, he grabs everything in this country for himself, we will keep on changing MPs every five years, nothing will change as long as the Tinkhundla government is still in power because the source of the problem cannot be attributed to an individual MP but the system.
Let me state categorically clear that this country is rich and the resources are enough to take care of all the over one million citizens, it is high time the people stop draining MPs with financial requests but establish business plans and project proposals, the legislators should put pressure on government to fund these projects at community level.
It is a shame that a whole government is failing to even fund soccer tournaments or leagues with least E30,000.00 per Constituency, these football activities automatically attract large crowds and create business opportunities for informal traders particularly women in the rural areas. Under normally circumstances, a government should be developing strategies to improve the lives of its citizens but the King's Tinkhundla system strives by producing beggars who will flood the homes of MPs with requests for food.
Minister of Sports Culture and Youth Affairs Madze Bulunga should facilitate this initiative of funding the soccer leagues in the communities, we are heavily taxed but the money that should be assisting the people ends up in the pocket of King Mswati, MPs are then forced to use their salaries to fund soccer tournaments and other community projects.
Furthermore, we have other spotting activities that include, boxing, pool, athletics, golf including our culture sibhaca and ummiso among others that attract tourists, government should be pumping money and support these activities in various communities with our taxes so that our mothers in the rural areas who are informal traders can earn a living.
Parliament and the media must start putting pressure on this government in the interest of the people, government is always quick in threatening to freeze monies like the Regional Development Fund(RDF) citing corruption when other multi-billion projects like the International Convention Centre(ICC) are continuing despite allegations suggesting that through this project, our money is looted by King Mswati and his Zambian corrupt business partner Michello Shakantu.
This is a government of corrupt thieves, they always hide behind the leaf when justifying decisions that seeks to suppress the people and force them into poverty, no wonder they are quick to drive all the way from Mbabane to the rural areas to grab properties from dagga farmers claiming they are fighting organised crime, when the leader of the Cabinet Prime Minister Ambrose Dlamini is the mastermind in organised crime, including forging Identity documents from a foreign country.
We have law enforcement agencies in this country, people who are looting public funds like the RDF should be arrested as a deterrence measure, but funds that seek to financially empower the people should not be stopped through politicking.
MPs are role models to various citizens that’s why they won elections, we don’t want to see them suffering, using public transports once they leave politics just because they used their money to feed the people.
It should be noted that a salary is specifically meant to take care of that individual including his or her family, of course, in the spirit of humanity, that particular person can decide to donate part of it to the needy but it shouldn’t be by force.
Perhaps, let me clarify that the position of an MP is not about an individual but a permanent Honorable status whose dignity should be protected, in politics, individuals come and go, even in a democratic government that status will be there hence it should be not be undermined. Furthermore, Cabinet Ministers should know that whenever they undermine a resolution adopted by the House in the interest of the people, they are not fighting that individual MP who moved the motion but undermining the dignity of Parliament and creating a precedent of defiance, Parliament is not a person but a reputable institution and a very important arm of government.
it is therefore important to remind MPs that one of their duties is to force Government to fulfil social obligations by taking care of the people with our taxes, this is part of a ‘social contract’ between any government and the people.
It has become a norm for many citizens, perhaps due to lack of political knowledge, to blame MPs on everything that went wrong in this country, as a Nation, we must be open minded and understand that this system was designed to promote poverty as a tool of political submission and the blame is then shouldered on MPs.
In conclusion, let me emphasize that money that should fund social activities or projects should come from government, the Nation should dismiss the sentiments of Cabinet that our country is broke when the collection of taxes is intensifying, MPs must play their role and put pressure on this government to construct roads and fund other projects in the various communities, after rendering those services by speaking for the people in Parliament, they must then enjoy the salaries with their families.
Members of Parliament