USE FREE­DOM OF SPEECH WISELY TO HEAL THIS NA­TION

But the great­est crime ever com­mit­ted is when such priv­i­leges have a po­ten­tial of be­ing abused and in­cite a hate speech to those called upon to ac­count, es­pe­cially mem­bers of the Ex­ec­u­tive.

Sunday Observer - - FEATURES - By Com­fort Mabuza

Mem­bers of Par­lia­ment are hon­ourable ones who are sup­posed to pro­mote Free­dom of Ex­pres­sion ideals, com­monly re­ferred to as ‘FOX’ in our hu­man rights ter­mi­nol­ogy.

In a demo­cratic s oci e t y , Par­lia­men­tar­i­ans are im­mune when de­bat­ing and dis­cussing is­sues in the Au­gust House be­cause that is their core man­date with­out fear or favour.

But the great­est crime ever com­mit­ted is when such priv­i­leges have a po­ten­tial of be­ing abused and in­cite hate speech to those called upon to ac­count, es­pe­cially mem­bers of the Ex­ec­u­tive.

While t he Con­stit ut i on of Swazi­land pro­motes free speech as a fun­da­men­tal right for all cit­i­zens, it cer­tainly does not give any per­son, re­gard­less of their sta­tus, to abuse this right to score cheap po­lit­i­cal points. Par­lia­ment is sup­posed to be an in­sti­tu­tion that calls for ac­count­abil­ity through de­bat­ing and pass­ing Bills brought be­fore it.

It there­fore pro­motes and uses free speech and all those who look up to them should feel this right is re­spected and not seen abused in any­way.

We fol­low the lo­cal me­dia ex­ten­sively and any un­savoury ex­change of words be­tween the lead­ers of the Ex­ec­u­tive and Leg­is­la­ture re­spec­tively, can be in­ter­preted oth­er­wise.

How can we best seek for bal­anced crit­i­cal re­flec­tions from abuse of such par­lia­men­tar­ian priv­i­lege to in­cite hate speech? No one per­son, in­clud­ing the very hon­ourable ones is above law ir­re­spec­tive of the po­si­tion they hold to in­cite Swazis against each other. Heal our land!

Hate speech gives birth to Cru­elty

Pol­i­tics by its na­ture is about de­bat­ing is­sues and call­ing for ac­count­abil­ity from those who lead and gov­ern.

There are al­ways dif­fer­ent opin­ions about the man­ner the ex­ec­u­tive run the af­fairs of this na­tion, but Par­lia­men­tar­i­ans must en­sure it plays its over­sight role call­ing for ac­count­abil­ity. The use of words dur­ing such times must be se­lected wisely and in­stil con­fi­dence. Cit­i­zens hold dif­fer­ent views on any given mat­ter and that should be pro­moted and guar­an­teed in a free so­ci­ety.

No sound leader worth his salt should be seen in­cit­ing fel­low-cit­i­zens to in­vok­ing some ha­tred in peo­ple minds and hearts. This coun­try has em­braced a Bill of Rights and its Con­sti­tu­tion en­shrines free speech in the Con­sti­tu­tion that hap­pens to be supreme law of the Land. Hu­man Rights prin­ci­ples dic­tate that peo­ple are al­lowed and given room to freely ex­press them­selves and if they see any per­ceive wrong.

We cer­tainly do not need hate speech in a coun­try that is strug­gling to sur­vive be­cause of poor, mis­cal­cu­lated and short sight­ed­ness of the po­lit­i­cal di­rec­tion. Par­lia­men­tar­i­ans in Ex­ec­u­tive must lis­ten to dis­sent­ing voices, this is healthy for a demo­cratic or­der and pros­per­ity of our na­tion as it is part of fun­da­men­tal hu­man rights we have e mbraced as a nat i on. Some­thing is def­i­nitely wrong with the fis­cal dis­ci­pline cur­rently, and let us be forth­com­ing with truth to al­lay cit­i­zens’ fears. Wise lead­er­ship must chart the maze and use con­vinc­ing words to guar­an­tee that we are deal­ing with the out­stand­ing mat­ters that have paral­ysed our na­tion.

Where are ma­tured words of wis­dom and ad­vice that could help al­lay our fears about the fu­ture? Is there a wise leader to speak words of con­so­la­tion and as­sur­ance to a na­tion that is shaken to the core cur­rently?

Loose tongue is the en­emy of peace

Any per­ceived hate speech is costly in that it gets emo­tions boil­ing, and like an erup­tive vol­cano it can cause so much ir­repara­ble dam­age in any given con­text. In­stead of con­demn­ing what is viewed as a wrong in a ma­tured man­ner, those in lead­er­ship should not make it their ha­bit­ual act to in­duce fear when per­sons ques­tion and ex­press them­selves re­gard­ing the man­ner things are be­ing done po­lit­i­cally.

De­bates should be en­cour­aged and it is healthy, so there is ab­so­lutely no rea­son to sti­fled ro­bust de­bates as no one should have mo­nop­oly on how this na­tion should be gov­erned and man­aged. Le­live letfu

Any per­ceived hate speech is costly in that it gets emo­tions boil­ing, and like an erup­tive vol­cano it can cause so much ir­repara­ble dam­age in any given con­text. In­stead of con­demn­ing what is viewed as a wrong in a ma­tured man­ner, those in lead­er­ship should not make it their ha­bit­ual act to in­duce fear when per­sons ques­tion and ex­press them­selves re­gard­ing the man­ner things are be­ing done po­lit­i­cally.

sal­it­fola ngenhlonipho – this na­tion be­longs to us all. What­ever is go­ing on cur­rently calls for ma­tured speech and as­sur­ance be­cause even a small child can tell this coun­try is fac­ing greater fis­cal chal­lenges, and there is no way in avoid­ing this is­sue. Let’s en­gage this with­out fear and favour. Par­lia­men­tar­i­ans keep on pilling the pres­sure and call for ac­count­abil­ity lest we be­come a failed state.

Use Free Speech for heal­ing

As we are watch­ing the events un­fold and how the pub­lic ser­vants are up in arms about their salary ad­just­ments, we are not­ing with con­cern that there is lack of clar­ity on the side of the gov­ern­ment.

We can­not be read­ing from the lo­cal me­dia that gov­ern­ment owned in­sti­tu­tions are not sup­posed to be giv­ing bonuses at the need of this year. What­ever the si­lence in avoid­ing tack­ling th­ese con­cerns we are doomed. There is there­fore a need to speak out and set the record straight. Peo­ple de­serve the right to know.

Can some­one use the power of speech to tell us what is go­ing on? We can­not be hear­ing such things froms grapevine, use the chan­nels ac­cord­ing and grant us hope and sense of as­sur­ance. We need mes­sag­ing from the ex­ec­u­tive to in­stil some hope.

We need as­sur­ance that all is un­der con­trol. To have thou­sands of Civil ser­vants march­ing and protest­ing is in­dica­tive of a coun­try in crises.

Can some­body use the power of speech please to as­sure the na­tion is be­ing at­tended to?

This pan­ick­ing mode we are be­ing sub­jected to will def­i­nitely cre­ate more un­de­sired ten­sions, which al­ready has all the po­ten­tial of hav-

ing a neg­a­tive im­pact. Use the power of words to chart the maze good peo­ple. Keep­ing the na­tion un­der sus­pense can­not be tol­er­ated in this time and age. We are deal­ing with of na­tional im­por­tance af­fect­ing the lives of the masses.

Strik­ing a Bal­ance on Free­dom of Speech

HURISWA ad­vo­cates for free speech and is con­sti­tu­tional guar­an­teed, but those who hap­pen to be af­forded and pro­vided with rare op­por­tu­ni­ties to make speech. Name call­ing by such peo­ple who are given th­ese plat­forms to ad­dress cit­i­zens of this land, must not be­come a cul­ture of in­sin­u­at­ing hate speech.

Such rare op­por­tu­ni­ties when used to set­tle per­sonal scores and self­ish am­bi­tions does not ar­gue well for a coun­try that should be lis­ten­ing to all cit­i­zens with­out hav­ing to de­monise those we do not agree with. It is a great shame when peo­ple abuse their priv­i­lege to push their own agen­das of set­tling scores with oth­ers as they would not be af­forded and op­por­tu­nity to de­fend them­selves.

I think hate speech be­gins when you un­duly ac­cuse peo­ple with­out first seek­ing an au­di­ence with to dis­cuss what­ever dif­fer­ences they have with them.

It is abuse of peo­ple’s in­tel­li­gence to la­bel Swazis and call them names, in all fair­ness those who are made to look like black sheep must be given a plat­form to de­fend them­selves. As mat­ters stand char­ac­ter as­sas­si­na­tion will not help a na­tion that should be seek­ing to ad­dress her prob­lems and na­tional chal­lenges.

In­stead of build­ing and ex­hort­ing oth­ers, a lot of en­ergy is be­ing wasted in de­mon­is­ing peo­ple who also are cit­i­zens of this coun­try. Let us avoid hate speech and in­cite peo­ple to hate oth­ers. Hu­man Rights and fun­da­men­tal free­doms en­cour­age free, fair and re­spon­si­ble speech, not hate speech. To this end, we humbly ap­peal to the coun­try’s lead­er­ship to speak wis­dom to a con­fus­ing ob­tain­ing and in­stil hope, we should not be ap­pear­ing lead­er­less and be ex­posed.

Pur­su­ing Peace and Sta­bil­ity

As a mat­ter of fact when such na­tional chal­lenges are ex­posed, it calls for wise lead­er­ship not to speak in a twin- forked tongue. When there are so many voices aris­ing, then we need a voice of rea­son from Ex­ec­u­tive re­port­ing to Par­lia­ment who rep­re­sents the masses.

I am bout hear­ing as­sur­ance good peo­ple. I am not get­ting any en­cour­age­ment that we are above things. Let us be com­mu­ni­cat­ing right mes­sag­ing and free­dom of speech used wisely in our coun­try fac­ing so many chal­lenges. Hid­ing our head in the sand won’t help this na­tion.

Par­lia­men­tar­i­ans its time you call for more ac­count­abil­ity from the ex­ec­u­tive who seems to be sleep­ing on their job cur­rent­lyThat is what Par­lia­ment’s over­sight role is all about.

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