HANS, MIN­IS­TERS RARE TO FIND IN PARLY

Sunday Observer - - FRONT PAGE - BY ZWELETHU DLAMINI

The Nk­i­lo­ngo MP Hans St­ef­fen and the Lubulini MP Muzi Gwebu have been con­spic­u­ous by their ab­sence from Par­lia­ment busi­ness. The two are joined by Min­is­ter of Nat­u­ral Re­sources Jab­ulile Mash­wama in be­ing cited among politi­cians who are rare to find in Par­lia­ment.

No­tably, these leg­is­la­tors are not the only politi­cians who are scarce in Par­lia­ment, how­ever, these are ab­sent f or much l onger pe­ri­ods. Of l ate, Par­lia­ment has been fail­ing to form a quo­rum, the re­cent be­ing this past week and dur­ing the last spe­cial sit­ting.

Ac­cord­ing to the votes and pro­ceed­ings of Par­lia­ment, which is more like the min­utes of each or­der pa­per, in each sit­ting there are those who at times do not show up be­cause they are on duty, had made apolo­gies and those who have not re­ported at all.

In sev­eral ses­sions of the House, Mem­bers of Par­lia­ment (MPs) have raised their con­cerns of non-at­ten­dance by the afore­men­tioned mem­bers and oth­ers called upon the speaker to act on it but till this day noth­ing has been done in this re­gard.

This con­cern was brought by, among oth­ers, Mat­san­jeni North MP Phila Buthelezi, Prince Hlangabeza and Mt­fong­wa­neni MP Mju­luko Dlamini.

Long be­fore the pub­lic spat be­tween Prime Min­is­ter Dr Sibu­siso Dlamini and MP Buthelezi, the lat­ter had al­ready stated that the non-avail­abil­ity of the prime min­is­ter in Par­lia­ment made it hard for him to mon­i­tor if the min­is­ters at­tended the par­lia­men­tary ses­sions or not, hence it was hard for them to at­tend.

Other MPs said the premier rarely at­tended Par­lia­ment and seemed to only ap­pear when there were squab­bles in­volv­ing him and when his busi­ness had to be pre­sented. It was when House of Assem­bly Speaker Themba Msibi was r e porti ng t o MPs t hat Mt­sam­bama MP Richard Sime­lane was not at­tend­ing be­cause he is sick that MP Mju­luko raised the con­cern about the other mem­bers who in­cluded the MP Hans and Lubulini MP Gwebu. On the other hand, the prime min­is­ter was also ac­cused of not be­ing reg­u­lar enough for Par­lia­ment du­ties, dur­ing the de­bate on the clo­sure of the Swazi­land Chris­tian Med­i­cal Univer­sity (SCU). Prince Hlangabeza noted that the PM had not been seen in Par­lia­ment for the du­ra­tion of the de­bate on the univer­sity.

Mat­ter

The mat­ter of SCU was brought to the House in Septem­ber and was fi­nally re­solved in Novem­ber when the King or­dered that the in­sti­tu­tion, which had been closed, be re­opened. MP Hans is no­to­ri­ous for ab­sent­ing him­self from Par­lia­ment such that at some point when there was a short­age of a mi­cro­phone in Par­lia­ment a tech­ni­cian was told to take the mic be­long­ing to the MP. In­for­ma­tion gath­ered sug­gests that the MP is spend­ing most of his time ei­ther look­ing af­ter his busi­nesses or in the com­mu­nity work­ing on the projects he had promised his con- stituency. This fol­lows that the leg­is­la­tor had re­port­edly de­clared that he would not be stand­ing for elec­tions in 2018, hence would like to en­sure that by the end of his term he had com­pleted the projects.

On the con­trary, the at­ten­dance of Min­is­ter of Nat­u­ral Re­sources Jab­ulile Mash­wama has de­clined since Au­gust. Sim­i­larly her col­league, the Min­is­ter of Labour and So­cial Se­cu­rity Win­nie Ma­gag­ula has not been a reg­u­lar in Par­lia­ment since MPs raised the is­sue of the 60 per cent cut of al­lowances for ter­tiary stu­dents, which she failed to ad­dress. Dur­ing the sec­ond quar­ter of the gov­ern­ment cal­en­dar, sev­eral poli­cies and mo­tions had been sub­mit­ted and de­lib­er­ated in the House that these politi­cians have missed. These in­clude, among oth­ers the adop­tion of the quar­terly and port­fo­lio com­mit­tee re­ports, the Sex­ual Of­fences and Do­mes­tic Vi­o­lence Bill 2015, the elec­tion of women mem­bers to Par­lia­ment, Swazi­land Rev­enue Author­ity (Amend­ment bill) and the el­derly grants which has brought con­tro­versy in the House for the past two weeks.

Nk­i­lo­ngo MP Hans St­ef­fen, Min­is­ter of Nat­u­ral Re­sources Jab­ulile Mash­wama and Lubulini MP Muzi Gwebu.

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