Times of Swaziland
31 July 2008
Ministers fly back for elections, PM loses out
By MARTIN DLAMINI
LUSAKA, ZAMBIA – With election nominations taking place this weekend and the Prime Minister Absalom Themba Dlamini out of the country with three ministers and a number of government officials, the PM has released the ministers and some delegation members to return home today (Thursday).
The PM can only return home on Saturday evening.
The three ministers are Economic Planning and Development minister Rev. Absalom Dlamini, Natural Resources and Energy Minister Dumsile Sukati and Tourism Environment and Communications Minister Thandi Shongwe.
The Smart Partnership dialogue officially ended yesterday. What this means is that the people of Ngcoseni will not get the privilege of nominating the PM for MP if their nomination is held on Saturday and not Sunday as the Elections Order states that the nominated individuals have to be present. This leaves the PM with no minister at his side when he represents His Majesty the King who, has been invited to officially open Zambia’s Trade Fair on Saturday. The programme spans throughout the day and the only officials to be affected are protocol officer Sense Dlamini and Mbongeni Simelane from the PMs office.
"I have to be here until Saturday. A special programme has been arranged, which begins with a banquet tomorrow night (Friday) and then the official opening on Saturday. I have allowed the ministers to leave," he said, when asked on his position following the pronouncement of the nomination date this weekend.
Enterprise and Employment Minister Lutfo Dlamini could only confirm that he was returning home today and tight-lipped on whether he would stand for nomination.
"You do not nominate yourself, the people do," said the man who recorded the highest votes for an MP in the 2003 elections.
Minister Thandi Shongwe, however, is not an elected MP.
Most of the delegation members indicated that they would be back home by Saturday.