HANS, MINISTERS RARE TO FIND IN PARLY
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.
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.