LOBAMBA: King Mswati has systematically suspended Parliament sittings as lobbying among Members of Parliament(MPs) to oust the current Tinkhundla system of Governance through a motion and adopt multi-party democracy intensifies.
Eswatini, a tiny Kingdom situated in Southern Africa has about 70% of the population living below the poverty line, political parties are banned from participating in elections. Under the current political system, the King appoints the Prime Minister, a majority of Senators, Judges, Ministers and all members of the various Governing Councils.
Reached for comments, Mduduzi Bacede Mabuza, the Hosea Member of Parliament who doubles as the Chair of Chairs in Parliament confirmed that Parliament sittings have been suspended but nothing has been formally communicated to him and other MPs regarding the decision to ‘ban’ the sittings.
“As for me, my political position in the matter is known I want democracy, this is in the public domain and not a secret. I can confirm that Parliament sittings have been suspended and nothing has been formally communicated to me as the Chair or Chairs and other MPs, we don’t understand what is happening because we want to address various public issues including seeking answers regarding the death of Thabani Nkomonye. Now we are getting salaries for doing nothing as there are no Parliament sittings” ,he said.
An MP who spoke to this Swaziland News said the King acted on intelligence information when he temporarily banned the Parliament sittings, however, he said the group of MPs who are advocating for democratic reforms are considering calling a press conference, expose the Tinkhundla system internationally and express their position that they want democratic reforms.
“We have two options, if they continue depriving us the platform to speak in Parliament and oust the Tinkhundla system through a motion, we will just organize ourselves, call a press conference with the local and international media and announce our political position that we want the country to adopt multi-party democracy. We can’t be led by a Prime Minister who was not elected by the people, we want to at least elect our own PM who will be accountable to the people through Parliament. Lona loletfwa ngumuntfu lesingamati, vele ngeke ente lokufunwa bantfu ngoba angakwati kukhankhasa(meaning: The one who was not elected by the people cannot serve the interests of the public because he doesn’t even know how to campaign” said the MP.
A questionnaire was sent to Petros Mavimbela, the Speaker in the House of Assembly, however, he had not responded at the time of compiling this report.
Speaking to this publication, Mthandeni Dube, the Ngwempisi MP said if Swazis want change and a reversal of what happened in 1973 nothing can stop them from moving a motion and oust the Tinkhundla system.
"As the situation stands, for over 50 years now the country is failing to create jobs and a better life for the Swazis because of a minority that is taking decisions for the people, we need democracy" said the Ngwempisi MP.
It has been disclosed that few weeks ago, during a special sitting in Parliament, over 30 police officers were sitting in the public gallery guarding against any motion that might be moved by the progressive MPs seeking to oust the current Government, this was confirmed by the Ngwempisi MP when speaking to this publication.
"We didn't understand why such a large number of police officers were in Parliament because we normally see officers who are escorting the Prime Minister or Princess Sikhanyiso, but we later gathered that it was a strategy to intimidate the MPs" he said.
A questionnaire was sent to Sabelo Dlamini, the Government Spokesperson, however, he had not responded at the time of compiling this report.
Meanwhile, as the pressure to adopt multi-party democracy fuelled by violation of human rights by the King's Government intensifies, on Wednesday, Acting Prime Minister Senator Themba Masuku ordered the police to disperse public gatherings ahead of the Justice for Thabani protest on Friday that was seen as a threat to the existence of the Tinkhundla Government.
This comes after thousands of youth members including University students who marched to the Matsapha Police Station to demand justice for Thabani Nkomonye who was allegedly killed by the police.