LOBAMBA: Lorraine Nxumalo, the Lubombo Region’s Member of Parliament (MP) said she was humiliated and 'kicked' out of Parliament on Monday during the International Women’s Day.
Speaking during an interview with this Swaziland News on Wednesday, the Lubombo MP said due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Parliament adopted new standing orders, only 40 members of the House were allowed per-sitting, these were the 21 Chairpersons of Portfolios, 3 appointees and 16 Members of Parliament across all the country’s four regions.
“Each region has its own Chairperson, those who were were interested in attending the House of Assembly’s sitting on Monday were asked to register with their Chairpersons. Our Chairperson Mduduzi Magagula, the Dvokodvweni MP asked us to indicate in our WhatsApp group, I was the only one in my region who indicated, but when I went to Parliament my name was not on the list.When we went for a caucus, all those who had not registered were asked to leave but I refused on grounds that I had registered with my Chairperson. I was forced out of the House because they felt that I was exposing my Chairperson’s incompetence,” she said.
Petros Mavimbela, the Speaker in the House of Assembly had not responded to our questionnaire at the time of compiling this report.
But Mduduzi Simelane, the Siphofaneni MP said he believed there was a communication breakdown between the Lubombo MP and her Chairperson that cannot be attributed to Parliament.
“There was a communication breakdown between MP Lorraine and the Lubombo Chairperson which did not involve Parliament.She has a point but that was not Parliament’s fault, the Lubombo Chairperson did not communicate properly with her. It turned out that some MP’s from the Lubombo region registered via phone calls not through WhatsApp, that’s how her name was eventually left out. However, the Lubombo Chairperson is to blame for this mess”, said the Siphofaneni MP.
When reached for comments, Colani Hlatjwako, the One Billion Rising Africa Coordinator said the reason why the Regional MP’s were discriminated against in Parliament was that they didn’t have clearly defined roles.
“Parliament should promote equality and fairness, one important thing that needs to be addressed is the terms of reference, the roles of Regional MP’s must be clearly defined so that they may be recognised by the others that come from constituencies. These Regional MPs are not taken seriously because they don’t have clearly defined roles, I guess that’s where the discrimination comes from”, she said.
MP Lorraine Nxumalo