‘ I DID NOT APOLOGISE’
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the House of Assembly that Cabinet would not go to Parliament until the motion that chucked them out of Parliament was withdrawn.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.