JAN YOU COW­ARD -MIN­IS­TER

...Dares him to re­sign if he feels Tinkhundla has failed

Observer on Saturday - - Front Page - By Bodwa Mbingo

Min­is­ter of In­for­ma­tion, Com­mu­ni­ca­tions and Tech­nol­ogy (ICT) Du­misani Nd­langa­mandla has dared Manzini North Mem­ber of Par­lia­ment (MP) Jan Sit­hole to re­sign as an MP if he feels the Tinkhundla sys­tem of gov­er­nance is not work­ing for the coun­try.

This comes fol­low­ing re­ports that Sit­hole, the Swazi­land Demo­cratic Party (SWADEPA) Pres­i­dent, stated some­time in mid-April that the Tinkhundla sys­tem of gov­er­nance had failed the coun­try. Speak­ing dur­ing Win­nie Madik­izela-Man­dela’s memo­rial ser­vice, Sit­hole said the Tinkhundla sys­tem of gov­er­nance was in­tro­duced by King Sob­huza II as an ex­per­i­ment and it was clear that it had failed. He said, there­fore, the na­tion could not con­tinue to har­ness a sys­tem that was not work­ing.

He said as SWADEPA, they were call­ing for a na­tional po­lit­i­cal di­a­logue where a way for­ward would be dis­cussed.

Sys­tem

Sit­hole said the sys­tem had failed be­cause it could not pro­vide scholarships, grants for the dis­abled, to im­prove road in­fra­struc­ture and to give proper grants for the el­derly.

He pointed out that this had even led to peo­ple liv­ing next to the border­line go­ing to South Africa to earn a liv­ing there, which he called stealing from the South African econ­omy.

He called upon South African Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa to unite this coun­try, not­ing that one could not be happy while his neigh­bour is suf­fer­ing.

He said this was what re­sulted to peo­ple leav­ing Swazi­land to steal from the econ­omy of South Africa.

How­ever, the hot-un­der-the-col­lar min­is­ter of ICT, who dou­bles as Ngudzeni MP, minced no words stat­ing that since Sit­hole is an MP and is a prod­uct of the sys­tem in his po­si­tion as an MP, he should re­sign if he feels the sys­tem that put him where he is at the mo­ment is not work­ing.

With gloves clearly off, the min­is­ter stated that if there was any­one who felt that the Tinkhundla sys­tem had failed, then it was them who had failed.

“If some­one says the Tinkhundla sys­tem has failed, but still re­mains in Par­lia­ment then it doesn’t make any sense. Why doesn’t he re­sign? He gets a salary from the very same Tinkhundla sys­tem that he now claims is not work­ing. We can­not stand this in Par­lia­ment and al­low peo­ple like him to speak any­how about the sys­tem.

This just should not be al­lowed. I will not hide in Par­lia­ment when speak­ing such truths, but will come out in the open so that any­one who feels I am wrong can chal­lenge me. If I am chal­lenged I will stand by this truth. As for him he is prov­ing to be a cow­ard and should just re­sign,” he stated.

The min­is­ter went on to con­fess that he is a staunch sup­porter of the Tinkhundla sys­tem, sup­ports it fully and ben­e­fits from it.

Min­is­ter Nd­langa­mandla is not the first one to pub­licly at­tack Sit­hole fol­low­ing his ut­ter­ances as af­ter the re­ports that were at­trib­uted to him, Gov­ern­ment Press Sec­re­tary Percy Sime­lane in a state­ment told the MP that the Tinkhundla sys­tem of gov­er­nance was no po­lit­i­cal piracy as it was in place be­cause the peo­ple of Eswatini had many a time freely sub­mit­ted their sup­port to its con­ti­nu­ity. He stated that it had been re­viewed, tried and tested since its con­cep­tion 63 years ago.

Sime­lane, in his state­ment, added that the high­est de­ci­sion mak­ing Sibaya, au­thor­ity in the land, had con­sis­tently en­dorsed the sys­tem and it had been pe­ri­od­i­cally strength­ened over the years.

“In ac­cor­dance with the prin­ci­ples of true democ­racy, no lone po­lit­i­cal wolf can change this. We want to be­lieve Mr Sit­hole was voted into Par­lia­ment by peo­ple who be­lieve in the sys­tem so it would be a fal­lacy for him to then turn around and kick them in the mouth.

“We view Mr Sit­hole’s sub­mis­sion that a Head of State from a neigh­bour­ing coun­try must come and whip lead­er­ship into line as sin­gle-hand­edly pass­ing a vote of no con­fi­dence on His Majesty the King and Ing­wenyama, the Head of State. The King shall al­ways be open to in­ter­na­tional ad­vice but not or­ders,” ar­gued Sime­lane.

Democ­racy

Sime­lane said democ­racy is about a peo­ple defin­ing their des­tiny and not about other na­tions shout­ing or­ders. He said Swazi­land is a sov­er­eign state and its des­tiny is in the hands of its peo­ple and not at the mercy of lone po­lit­i­cal wolfs op­er­at­ing like juke­boxes. “The Swazi Na­tion has put to­gether one of the best con­sti­tu­tions in the world ac­cord­ing to sea­soned judges around the world, in­clud­ing jus­tices from Mau­ri­tius and South Africa. The way the na­tion goes to par­lia­men­tary elec­tions in this coun­try is con­sti­tu­tional as at­tested to by the last party of in­ter­na­tional elec­tions ob­servers only five years ago,” fur­ther read his state­ment.

He said so­cial grants shall al­ways be de­ter­mined by the size of the econ­omy at a point in time and laid down rules and reg­u­la­tions to en­sure con­ti­nu­ity. He said that there are no scholarships is a fal­lacy of the first or­der.

Sime­lane added that the State con­tin­ues to grant scholarships to thou­sands of de­serv­ing ter­tiary ed­u­ca­tion ap­pli­cants ev­ery year de­spite its eco­nomic chal­lenges at a time when a ma­jor­ity of coun­tries in the re­gion and abroad do not. He said the state funds Free Pri­mary Ed­u­ca­tion (FPE) and sub­sidises sta­ble food, med­i­ca­tion and fuel, among other ser­vices to the peo­ple.

Ef­forts to ob­tain com­ments from Sit­hole proved fu­tile at the time of go­ing to press yes­ter­day as his mo­bile phone was not avail­able on the net­work for the bet­ter part of last evening.

Re­spond­ing

How­ever, when re­spond­ing to Sime­lane, Sit­hole high­lighted that each time Par­lia­ment car­ried its over­sight role or gov­ern­ment chal­lenged the is­sue at hand it is not ad­dressed but rather the King’s name is abused, es­pe­cially by Cab­i­net. This was when he was asked to state his po­si­tion re­gard­ing the state­ment made by Sime­lane who sug­gested that by say­ing the Tinkhundla sys­tem of gov­er­nance has failed the Swazi peo­ple, he was pass­ing a vote of no con­fi­dence on His Majesty the King.

Sit­hole said if his si­lence was not go­ing to be mis­in­ter­preted as con­ced­ing to the al­le­ga­tions, he was not go­ing to re­spond.

“In fact, a naive as­ser­tion such as the one that gov­ern­ment has ut­tered through Percy, un­der nor­mal cir­cum­stances did not de­serve the hon­our of be­ing re­sponded to, but si­lence would be mis­con­strued as con­ced­ing to the un­founded al­le­ga­tions.

That’s why I will not be silent when a de­lib­er­ate smear cam­paign is meted against me,” he said in an in­ter­view with our sis­ter pa­per, the Sun­day Ob­server.

“Now I know that the arm of gov­ern­ment we are talk­ing about is the Cab­i­net. I am, there­fore, not sur­prised at this des­per­a­tion be­cause since this tenth Par­lia­ment con­tin­ued to be vo­cal and upped their over­sight role, when­ever pres­surised on lack of ser­vice de­liv­ery, Cab­i­net would drag the name of the King to spin doc­tor and sti­fle Par­lia­ment func­tion,” Sit­hole added.

The MP, listed sev­eral cases which he said were ex­am­ples of in­ci­dences where the King’s name was dragged into the mud and facts be­ing twisted or over­looked.

The first in­ci­dent that he cited was when MP Phila Buthelezi from Mat­san­jeni North, re­it­er­ated a view Sibaya, that was ex­pressed at in say­ing in fu­ture there should be a con­sid­er­a­tion that the King ap­points a prime min­is­ter from the elected par­lia­men­tar­i­ans.

“This hon­est opin­ion which was not Sibaya, frowned at was re­con­fig­ured by gov­ern­ment to the public and their Majesties to say that MP Phila and (“Banyiki­tise Par­lia­ment were sub­ver­sive tin­sika tebukhosi”).

Se­ri­ous

This is a se­ri­ous ma­li­cious mis­truth. When MP Sikhumbuzo Dlamini from Nk­wene raised abuse of power on state­ments that were is­sued at Sigwe and other abuse of power by gov­ern­ment, it was said he threat­ened to kill the prime min­is­ter,” he said.

“It is true that peo­ple liv­ing with dis­abil­i­ties have no struc­tured grants. It is true that when SADC in­ter­venes in a po­lit­i­cal di­a­logue in SADC coun­tries it is nei­ther in­ter­fer­ing nor pass­ing a vote of con­fi­dence to the lead­er­ship of those coun­tries,” he said.

Sit­hole main­tains that there is a ser­vice de­liv­ery deficit within the sys­tem of gov­er­nance.

He said it is true that there is gross deficit of ser­vice de­liv­ery in the coun­try and gov­ern­ment is re­spon­si­ble for that and he pro­vided sta­tis­tics.

“It is true that we have high un­em­ploy­ment which is of over 27 per cent, we have over 64 per cent peo­ple earn­ing be­low poverty da­tum line. UNISWA ter­tiary stu­dents had a 60 per cent cut on their al­lowances.”

Min­is­ter of In­for­ma­tion, Com­mu­ni­ca­tions and Tech­nol­ogy Du­misani Nd­langa­mandla and Manzini North Mem­ber of Par­lia­ment Jan Sit­hole.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Swaziland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.