‘ I DID NOT APOL­O­GISE’

Sunday Observer - - NEWS - BY ZWELETHU DLAMINI

Mba­bane West Mem­ber of Parl i a ment J ohane Shongwe has re­futed claims that he apol­o­gised for his Par­lia­ment an­tics a fort­night ago when he tore i nto s hreds t he Deputy Prime Min­is­ter’s state­ment on the state of the Pha­lala Fund and the el­derly grants.

In­stead, the out­spo­ken MP says those who say he apol­o­gised on Fri­day mis­heard him. He in­sists that he did not apol­o­gise be­cause there was no need for him to apol­o­gise as he had been al­ready rep­ri­manded by the Speaker of the House of Assem­bly, Themba Msibi.

Shongwe said this yes­ter­day when in­ter­viewed by this news­pa­per.

“There was no need for me to apol­o­gise,” he said. “I was rep­ri­manded by my speaker for what hap­pened. All I said was that I was elected by Mba­bane West peo­ple who among them are the el­derly peo­ple who had turned 60 since April and have not yet re­ceived their grants.”

MP Shongwe con­tin­ued to say that the pain he felt as a re­sult of their plight led him to tear the state­ment in Par­lia­ment, much to the dis­may of Cabi­net and the DPM Paul Dlamini.

How­ever, the Prime Min­is­ter Dr Sibu­siso Dlamini threat­ened that Cabi­net would boy­cott Par­lia­ment busi­ness un­til and un­less some­thing was done to MP Shongwe. This foll owed Cabi­net’ s no- s how in Par­lia­ment on Wed­nes­day which was fol­lowed by an ex­pla­na­tion by the head of gov­ern­ment that Cabi­net then re­quested the Speaker to sanc­tion the MP. Fur­ther to this, the PM re­port­edly told the Speaker of the House of Assem­bly that Cabi­net would not go to Par­lia­ment un­til the mo­tion that chucked them out of Par­lia­ment was with­drawn.

Dur­ing a spe­cial sit­ting on Fri­day, Cabi­net e nded its boy­cott of Par­lia­ment in which the Speaker urged the war­ring par­ties to work to­gether for the com­mon good of the coun­try and its peo­ple.

How­ever, speak­ing to the Sun­day Ob­server, MP Shongwe sought to clar­ify that he had not apol­o­gised dur­ing the ses­sion, de­fi­antly stat­ing that he only ‘thanked the Speaker’ who re­buked him.

“I did not apol­o­gise,” he em­pha­sised. The MP added that since morn­ing (yes­ter­day) he had been re­ceiv­ing calls ques­tion­ing him on what re­ally he said and wanted clar­ity. He said he had found him­self hav­ing to clar­ify to ev­ery­one who was ask­ing about the sit­u­a­tion.

“I have had to clar­ify to peo­ple that I did not apol­o­gise, but only thanked the speaker for re­buk­ing me for my ac­tions,” he said.

Re­fer­ring to the news­pa­per ar­ti­cle in the Swazi News, MP Shongwe said the journalist must have mis­heard him. “That’s what they heard and wrote? There were more peo­ple who heard I only ex­plained then thanked the Speaker. In as far as I’m con­cerned the mat­ter is now over,” said Shongwe.

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