MBABANE: Swazis are not allowed to vote for a President or a Prime Minister in this tiny Kingdom of eSwatini, only Members of Parliament(MPs) are elected and forced to pay allegiance to King Mswati.
As a result, MPs Bacede Mabuza and Mthandeni Dube who demanded democracy on behalf of the people were arrested and subsequently denied bail by the justice system, their arrest came after an order from King Mswati.
Reached for comments, Ndumiso Masimula, the Lomahasha MP said the arrest of pro-democracy MPs was an indication that voting in this country remained a waste of time.
“The arrest of pro-democracy MPs was an indication that MPs are elected but not allowed to speak freely in Parliament.This is not only demotivating but it sends a message to the people that voting under the current situation is a waste of time. Ngoba lokutsi bakhetse labantfu bese lomuntfu labamkhetsile uyaboshwa, loku kusho kutsi noma bakhetsa badlala ngesikhatsi sabo”, said the Lomahasha MP.
Eswatini, a tiny Kingdom situated in Southern Africa is ruled by King Mswati as an absolute Monarch, political parties are banned from participating in elections.
The King appoints the Prime Minister, Ministers, Judges, a majority of Senators and all members of the various Governing Council.
People are only allowed to elect Tindvuna teTinkhundla(Constituency Headmen), Development officers(Bucopho) and Members of Parliament(MPs), however, none of these individuals are allowed to speak politics, challenge those in power and demand accountability.
Government Spokesperson Sabelo Dlamini declined to comment when reached by this publication.
Sibongile Mazibuko, the President of the Ngwane National Liberatory Congress (NNLC) said elected MPs under the current system were forced to be loyal to King Mswati.
“That’s why you find the King abusing State resources with his children because even Parliament is not allowed to question him, those who raise a voice are arrested”,she said.
Many members of the People’s United Democratic Movement(PUDEMO) were arrested, tortured, some were killed for demanding democratic reforms, the government firstly banned the organization and declared it a terrorist entity.
Mario Masuku, the late PUDEMO President was arrested several times for calling for democracy, Mswati’s government subsequently ordered the Times of eSwatini to ban his column that was critical of the King and Government.
Another political party whose members were persecuted include the Swaziland Democratic Party(SWADEPA) whose President the late Jan Sithole was raided by the police a few months before he died.
This was in connection to protests and activities organized by the Political Parties Assembly(PPA)in demand for democratic reforms.
Arrested Hosea MP Bacede Mabuza.