Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Swazi Media Commentary

4 November 2008


Swaziland should look again at its constitution, this time ensuring that there is full consultation with the people, civic society and political organisations.

This s a major recommendation from the Commonwealth Expert Team (CET) members that were official observers of the elections in Swaziland in September.

The CET said that the elections were not entirely credible because the constitution banned political parties and members of parliament had few real powers.

In its report on the election, just published, the CET says revisiting the constitution is necessary to ‘ensure that Swaziland’s commitment to political pluralism is unequivocal’.

It says that review of the constitution ‘should be carried out through a process of full consultation with Swazi political organisations and civil society (possibly with the support of constitutional experts).’

The CET went on to say that the election was not credible, even though a new constitution has been introduced in Swaziland since the last election in 2003.

The CET states, ‘Swaziland has now adopted a new Constitution, which affords the nation an opportunity to make democratic progress. The real challenge is to gain the confidence of the democratic dispensation with an entrenched bill of rights, as is expected of Swaziland in accordance with Commonwealth principles and declarations.’

It added, ‘We also noted our serious concerns on the inherent inconsistencies and contradictions, particularly as they relate to the separation of powers (or lack thereof) and the rule of law. We also expressed our deep concern for the inconsistency and contradictions as they relate to the interpretation of the fundamental right of freedom of association and assembly, where political parties are denied formal recognition, so that they do not have the right to carry out activities which political parties would normally conduct in a multi-party democracy.

‘We believe that the Monarchy and a multi-party democracy are not mutually exclusive, and that a mechanism should be found to insulate the Monarchy from the turbulence of politics.

It goes on, ‘In the modern world, which is complex and constantly evolving, a multi-party democratic system has proved to be the best one for accommodating diversity and well-treasured norms in society. Practical experience has shown that institutions which have been marginalised have suffered. Confidence in the institutional framework to promote a vibrant electorate is vital, as a conscientious, well informed electorate is critical in this day and age. In any country the prevailing political environment influences all aspects of life including social and economic conditions for its citizens. One of the major areas it affects is the constitutional and legislative framework governing electoral processes.’

According to a report from the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation, the Swazi government has declined to comment on the report until it has had a chance to study it fully.

This is a standard response from the Swazi ruling elite to any criticism it receives from the international community. In practice, the government never responds (think of all those criticisms earlier this year and last about the poor governance in Swaziland).

The government thinks it can ignore these findings. It can’t. It is up to democrats to keep pushing the point that Swaziland’s ‘unique’ democracy stands condemned and it must change.

To read the full report, click here.

See also


Link http://swazimedia.blogspot.com/2008/11/swaziland-rewrite-constitution.html

Saturday, November 1, 2008


Commonwealth News and Information Service (London)

29 October 2008
Posted to the web 30 October 2008

Swaziland: Commonwealth Expert Team Issues Final Report On 2008 Elections

Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma today released the Final Report of the Commonwealth Expert Team which observed the 2008 National Elections in Swaziland.

Mr Sharma said: "Despite the fact that the Team found that the elections on polling day were reasonably well conducted, they raised concerns about the totality of the electoral process. The Team felt that the reasons for this lay in weaknesses in the current constitutional, legal and electoral framework. These required reforms through a process of consultation and dialogue.

"What is vital now is for the Government and all political and civil society organizations in Swaziland to work together to chart a mutually agreed path for the future development of the country, with a view to ensuring its sustainable growth and stability, in line with Commonwealth fundamental values. The Commonwealth stands ready to assist in that process", the Secretary-General added.

The Report was completed and signed by all members of the Commonwealth Expert Team, prior to their departure from Swaziland. It was presented to the Commonwealth Secretary-General by the Team leader, Dr Paul Ssemogerere, the former Deputy Prime Minister of Uganda. Before being made public, it was distributed to the Government of Swaziland, to Swazi political and civil society organisations, to the Elections and Boundaries Commission of Swaziland, and to all other Commonwealth governments.

Link http://allafrica.com/stories/200810300038.html

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Swazi Observer

15 October 2008

Mtiti abused powers - Mahlaba

By Sabelo Mamba

UNIVERSITY of Swaziland Lecturer Mahlaba Mamba has taken former Minister of Agriculture and Co-operatives Mtiti Fakudze to High Court for an order disqualifying him as an elected Member of Parliament under Dvokodvweni Constituency.

Mamba, who is a former Cabinet Minister himself, alternatively wants the court to declare the process and results of the secondary national elections conducted on September 19 null and void.

Mamba, in his affidavit, argues that Fakudze’s campaign was based on a combination of abuse of his powers as minister of State and sheer threats against those who considered voting for another candidate.

He says Fakudze assured the community that he would instruct officials in the ministry of public works and transport to rehabilitate the gravel road from Sigcaweni to Dvokodvweni Constituency and that this would be done before the end of the week.

“True to his words, a dozer arrived in the area within a couple of days and rehabilitated the road over a period of about one week,” he alleges.

Mamba further alleges that Fakudze sent a government tanker to supply water in the area.

He also claims that on the voting day at Malindza High School polling station centre, Fakudze brought voters from areas that were outside the boundaries of Dvokodvweni Constituency. “These voters came from Siweni area, which is under Hlane Constituency,” he states.

Mamba says during the primary elections these voters had actually voted at Hlane Constituency, where they belonged.

“I submit that the issues canvassed above are individually serious enough to taint the elections process with illegality and malpractice,” he argues.

Mamba is being represented by Titus Mlangeni while Fakudze is being defended by Bheki Maphalala.

The case is pending at the High Court.

Link http://www.observer.org.sz/main.php?id=47685&section=main


Swazi Observer

14 October 2008


By Njabulo Dlamini

ELECTIONS under Mhlume Inkhundla might have to be held again after two winners threw doubts over their ability to serve as Indvuna Yenkhundla and Bucopho respectively.

The Indvuna Yenkhundla is Victor Mdakane and Bucopho is Pat Mokoena.

The MP, Siphiwe Kunene, who was employed as Section Manager has already assumed her Parliamentary duties and will leave the company.

MPs get approximately E26 000 a month.

Mokoena, who was Personel Officer at the RSSC is entitled to about E13 000 (including salary and all other perks and benefits) whilst Mdakane may get about E10 000, including basic salary and other perks.

If they assume the Indvuna and Bucopho jobs, they stand to get E2 000 and R3 000 respectively - a major departure from what they get at the RSSC.

Mokoena has chosen to remain with the company, whilst the Headman, Victor Mdakane is yet to decide.

They have been asked to either resign from their posts and pursue the new appointments.

The action by the RSSC is viewed by some as akin to unfair dismissal.

The feeling is that they should have been granted leave of absence instead of being asked to resign.

They have also been asked to vacate houses and surrender company property.

Correspondence titled 'Procedure for handling appointments to political office, public office or similar non-RSSC roles', is dated September 18, 2008, a day before secondary elections.

"It is intriguing why the company chose to release the document on the 18th; where were they all along?"some wondered.

The correspondence states: "Any employee who intends to engage or become involved in any external, non-RSSC, business interests is required to declare such interests by written application to the Managing Director as provided in Human Resources Procedure 1.3".

5.1 states that the offer of employment at RSSC is made and accepted on the basis of full-time employment in terms of which employees are expected to dedicate 100% of their time and energy towards meeting the goals and objectives of the corporation.

'Therefore, unless approved by the corporation in accordance with HR Procedure 1.3 (Avoidance of Conflict of Interest) employees shall not undertake any other job or appointment during the tenure of their employment'.

In 5.2 of the regulation is states that to become an MP, Indvuna YeNkhundla or Bucopho beNkhundla is deemed to be a full-time occupation.

'Any serving employee who assumes such appointment, cannot adequately perform the two functions of employee in RSSC and the other external business commitments at the same time'.

5.3 Any employee who elects to take up political office, public appointment or other external engagement will be required to resign his/her employment with the Corporation.

In 7.1.1 it says once the appointments have been made, the manager concerned will brief the employee about company policy as stated in these guidelines.

7.1.2 The employee will consider and should he/she elect to pursue the political/public career he/she will complete form HR 3.12.3 (Notice of Termination) formalising the decision to resign from the employ of the corporation.

The HR procedure is signed by General Manager Joe Shilubane and John Du-Plessis.

MP Kunene confirmed that the company wrote to them about the matter.

Human Resources Manager - Administration Dumsani Dlamini referred inquiries to the MD who was unavailable.

EBC comments

MEANWHILE, the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) Chairman Chief Gija Dlamini said there was nothing much they could do about the developments.

"The only setback would be if the entire inkhundla team were to step down meaning fresh elections staged.

That would be a financial setback to us but there's nothing we could do to get to that.

"Otherwise each organisation has its own set of rules as seen with government which asked civil servants to either resign or proceed on a five-year leave.

Other organisations may opt to proceed on a different route as seen in this instance. It's beyond the EBC's grasp," Chief Gija said.

Otherwise, he noted, their hope was for an amicable settlement between the two parties.

Link http://www.observer.org.sz/main.php?id=47646&section=main


Times Sunday

12 October 2008

I gave MPs lots of bread—Mr Bread owner


MBABANE— REVEALED: Mister Bread boss Wyne Levendale ‘assisted many’ MPs in their campaign for Parliament elections.

Some of the aspiring MPs were given loads of bread to buy votes, while other sponsorships from Mister Bread came in the form of cash prizes for soccer tournaments hosted by the campaigning nominees.

In return for the favour, they were supposed to elect him to be a senator once they were inside Parliament. But the plot did not go well, as Levendale lost to Tom Mndzebele, who made history by becoming the first visually impaired man to become a senator. Mndzebele got 44 votes while Levendale got 16 after a run off.

On Friday during the selection of senators, Mtsambama MP Bheki ‘No Problem’ Mkhonta nominated Levendale.

MP Mkhonta, a SUB Manager by occupation, yesterday acknowledged that Levendale assisted many MPs during the run down to the elections. He said he was not pleased that his nominee had lost, but was however happy that Mndzebele was eventually successful.

He further explained why he nominated Levendale. He listed several reasons why he wanted Levendale to become a senator.

"The first reason is that he is a Swazi who registered for the elections at Hhukwini area. Electing him would have made us a non-racist country. Our parliament should be balanced along racial lines, as much as we need to have people from the disabled Swazi community represented. I also believe that he has invested a lot of money in Swaziland and is committed to poverty alleviation in that his company employs over 300 people who have dependants.

"I also know for a fact that he assisted a lot of MPs while they were still campaigning for elections. The assistance came in many forms, including prizes for soccer tournaments organised by the MPs. There was free bread provided for the people, which is another way of alleviating poverty," he claimed, adding: "As for soccer, he has sponsored our 1st division league and many other community leagues."

MP Mkhonta said electing Levendale would have encouraged other investors who own businesses in the country. He said Levendale’s election would also be good for his constituency, Mtsambama.

Even though they are rivals in business, Mkhonta says he believes Levendale would have added value to the upper House.

"Nonetheless, I would like to congratulate Mndzebele who was the ultimate winner. I believe he represents a section of our society that has been marginalized over the years," he said.

Levendale said he was not bitter about the loss. "It’s fine, we can only try. At the end of the day, I am happy for the man who eventually won. I have no hard feelings," he said yesterday.

He confirmed that he assisted a lot of MPs when they were still campaigning. He, also, did not disclose any names.

He, however, said donating to impoverished rural areas was his company policy, though the donations were distributed via the then Parliament hopefuls.

He said his interest to become a senator was purely for the development of the country. "The difference between me and some of the people there is that I already have a well paying job, being a senator would have been purely a social responsibility. It was not a way of enriching myself. I wanted to participate in development because I believe Swaziland is a beautiful country that has a lot of potential," he said, adding: "However I believe there are many other people who are there purely for the development of the country, not to enrich themselves."

Chief Gija, the Chairman of the Elections and Boundaries Commission said he had been told that there was a case involving bread that is due to be heard in the high court. He was unsure whether it involved Mr Bread.

He further said donations should not be done with the expectation that there will be a favour returned.

"We have already warned against such donations. Giving is a blessed thing. However, when you give, you should not expect to be given a favour in return," he said. He said people elected into parliament were expected to be honest, and to desist from behaviour that is not in line with the law.

Link http://www.times.co.sz/index.php?news=2142