Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Times Sunday

28 September 2008

Esther Wins for Mbabane East


MABABANE— Esther Dlamini came out the victor in the long and hard fought battle to the august House in the Mbabane East Inkhundla yesterday.

Her journey to the august House’s hot seat was stalled by a protest by one Alfred Mndzebele who got a court order for a recount. She came out victorious after the recount of the ballot boxes. Her second hurdle was outsmarting Jabulani Nxumalo, who had become a thorn in her flash, and a hot contender for the seat in Parliament.

However, in yesterday’s election, hundreds of people came in their numbers, braving a very cold weather to exercise their right to vote for their choice of MP.

After weeks of rivarly between the two, the day of reckoning had finally come, and when the counting was conducted, it became clear the former MP was getting most of the votes.

Interestingly, she had received support from her friends in Parliament, Nkilongo MP Trusty Gina and Pigg’s MP Hlobsile Ndlovu. The counting for yesterday’s election was done last night, after an argument with the Elections and Boundaries Commission over when it should be done. The EBC had said the counting should be done today, but Nxumalo had said they wanted to count soon after the voting.

As it was, it was counted on the same night, and according to polling officers, and insiders, the result confirmed Esther Dlamini to have won, amid some wild jubilations among her camp.

Link http://www.times.co.sz/News/1772.html


Times Sunday

28 September 2008

Is Barney the man for the hot seat?


MBABANE—Will Liqoqo pick Barnabas Sibusiso Dlamini as the next Prime Minister when the time for nominating possible candidates comes?

This question arises from revelations that he is a frontrunner for the post of Head of Government, vacated by Absalom Themba Dlamini when Cabinet was dissolved last week.

"The events currently happening in the country need a man of Barnabas’ calibre. So far we believe he is the man for the job," said a senior member of the advisory body, Liqoqo.

The king’s advisor was referring to the recent spate of terrorism attacks, the march against Emakhosikati’s trip to the Middle East and Asia, fiscal discipline within government and the imminent threat to the royal family.

"Many members believe that these challenges need an assertive and strong individual who will be in charge of government. We do not want a situation where there are many cabinets within one, where some ministers are more powerful than the prime minister," he said.

The king’s advisor also revealed that the names of Phesheya Dlamini (Former Attorney General, and Ambassador to Kuwait), Mathendele Dlamini, Absalom Muntu Dlamini, and the possible reappointment of A.T. Dlamini also came up in some informal meetings. The advisor said only Barnabas Dlamini’s name came up in a formal meeting.

One of the people who were recently tipped for the post was Phesheya Dlamini, whose age worked against him. "He is still young, yet the position needs a very senior politician," said the advisor.

"The general feeling is that Dlamini is fit for the job," he said.

Asked whether they had considered that Dlamini’s exit coincided with the breakdown of the rule of law, the advisor said: "That has been considered. At the time of his exit, there was no constitution in place. Now we have a constitution in place, so the provisions of such a constitution guide the conduct of a Prime Minister. Therefore, how he went out should not be a problem. What we consider is the vast experience he has in dealing with such problems as those the country’s leadership is facing at the moment."

His Majesty the King is still expected to hold meetings with the SNC where the issue of the prime minister will be concluded.

Once the prime minister is appointed, and a new government is in place, the king is expected to dissolve Liqoqo, and appoint a new team.

Currently, members of the main advisory committee include Prince Sobandla, Prince Mahlaba, Sibusiso Barnabas Dlamini, and Chief Magudvulela, to name but a few.

Section 67 of the Constitution states:

(1) The king shall appoint the prime minister from among members of the House acting on recommendation of the King’s Advisory Council.

(2) The king shall appoint ministers from both chambers of Parliament on the recommendation of the prime minister.

(3) At least half the number of ministers shall be appointed from among the elected members of the house.

Link http://www.times.co.sz/News/1771.html


Times Sunday

28 September 2008

Liqoqo completes its rigorous process of nominations


MBABANE—The King’s Advisory Council, Liqoqo, has completed the process of nominating people to be appointed by the king to the House of Assembly.

Each member of the team of 12 powerful main advisors was requested to submit names of five people who have distinguished themselves in the service of the country.

From the names submitted by the committee, the King is expected to choose 10 men and women who will be announced as appointed members of the lower house.

"We were advised to consider all sectors of government and the private sector. Therefore in the nomination, each advisor considered people from the various emabandla, the civil service, those in Foreign Service, the private sector," said a senior advisor of the King, who wields a lot of influence in the country’s traditional structures.


"The reason for this kind of nomination is that a lot of people have been appointed into parliament and Cabinet in the past, and they tended to embarrass the appointing authority. The process is now rigorously done to minimise the possibility of the appointment of incompetent people," said the advisor.

He said at the end of the nomination exercise, the King was expected to be in the possession of 60 names. From that list, 10 names are to be announced by the Elections and Boundaries Commission.

"Previously, each advisor had the chance to suggest a name by word of mouth. But the process proved to be cumbersome and a source of conflict, as some advisors would openly oppose the names of certain individuals.

"Therefore, this time around, each member was required to write the names on a piece of paper. We did that and the Ingwenyama will compile the final list, taking into consideration the names submitted," added the source.

Whether the King has already given the list to the EBC could not be ascertained.

Liqoqo Secretary Bheka Mabuza could not be drawn for comment on the nomination. He could only say: "Officially, I am unaware of that."

However, another SNC member also confirmed that names of nominees were submitted by members to the appointing authority. He said they have yet to nominate people to take up Senate seats.

The sources both concurred that lobbying for parliament and cabinet seats has intensified ahead of the announcement of people to be appointed as legislators, and Cabinet ministers.

The list of people allegedly contacting members of the advisory committee include lawyers, corporate executives, government officials and some women.

"Most of the people contacting some of us are already in positions of authority. Some hold senior positions in banks, government, and private business entities," he said.

The EBC chiefs said they have not received any correspondence in relation to the appointments. Chief Gija said: "We are still waiting for the king to return."

Once the 10 appointees are appointed, Parliamentarians will be sworn in, and subsequently appoint among themselves, people to become senators. The king, in consultation with emabandla, will appoint an additional 20 Senators.

Link http://www.times.co.sz/News/1769.html


Times Sunday

28 September 2008

MBABANE— Mbabane East Member of Parliament contenders Esther Dlamini and Jabulani Nxumalo exchanged heated words during election process yesterday at KaBoyce Primary School.

The source of the verbal showdown was a picture used to aid Nxumalo’s campaign.

Nxumalo confirmed the altercation although he downplayed its magnitude.

He said his photo was found planted at Dlamini’s camp, just 500 metres from the polling station. He said this irked Dlamini’s supporters who then reported the incident to the police. He said the actual confrontation took place while he was trying to clarify his side of the story before the police.

"It was just a minor confrontation," emphasised Nxumalo. He alleged that this was a ploy by Dlamini’s camp to disqualify him.

"My agents and supporters could have not done this since everybody knows me around here. I think these were just efforts to create circumstances to disqualify me. This was sorted though as I told them that the law dictates that candidate’s pictures should be 500 metres from the polling station. Their argument was made more baseless by the fact that Dlamini’s picture was also there and bigger than mine," explained Nxumalo. Nxumalo also promised to respect any outcome of the election as the people would have made their choice (spoken).

Esther Dlamini said their dispute emanated from the fact that two of Nxumalo’s agents (bogalajane) were seen three times at the Msunduza market’s food outlets showing the electorate pictures of Nxumalo and telling them to vote for him. Paulos Dvuba and Africa Dlamini, who are Nxumalo’s agents, were spotted by Esther’s agents telling people who have already voted to vote for Nxumalo. While doing this they were displaying Nxum-alo’s pictures. On another note, EBC’s Ncumbi Maziya is reported to have sent back a girl wearing a T-shirt with Esther Dlamini’s picture.

Dlamini explained that the said girl was wearing a jacket on top of the T-shirt and had zipped the jacket. She also argued the fact that this girl was spotted by Nxumalo out of all the people who were inside the polling station.

She registered her concern as to how Nxumalo knew that the girl was wearing the T-shirt beneath her jacket.


"This was just a perfectly acted move to get a require-ment to disqualify me. Out of all the people Nxumalo spotted this girl and he instructed her to remove the jacket. How did Nxumalo know that the girl was wearing the T-shirt because she had her jacket zipped up to the collar?" complained Dlamini.

On a light and refreshing note Pigg’s Peak and Nkilongo MPs Hlobsile Ndlovu and Trusty Gina visited Esther Dlamini during her hour of need, in what appeared to be women solidarity move yesterday at KaBoyce Primary School.

Link http://www.times.co.sz/News/1768.html

Monday, September 29, 2008


Weekend Observer

27 September 2008

No genuine voter education - Obed

Former Prime Minister Obed Dlamini, has stated that our elections will always carry some controversy as a result of the country’s political system and the lack of a continuous voter education programme.

“There has never been a voter education exercise in the country ever since independence. This is a defect even though the system may be said to be democratic as it is from the grassroots. Worse still, it greatly compromises the quality of the people who find themselves as legislators,” the former Premier stated.

He mentioned that people were excited over the establishment of the Elections and Boundaries Commission as stipulated by the Constitution, but that joy was short-lived when the same Constitution was violated and the commission was appointed without strictly following it, while the King went ahead and blessed it amid such concerns.

Responding to this newspaper’s request that he does a post-mortem for the elections, Dlamini noted that the primaries were a failure no doubt, and he blamed this on the lack of civic education, whereby people never saw the need to return and complete the process after it could not be finished in one day. He noted that a voter education exercise was a must, whether in a Tinkhundla driven, or multi party inspired election.

He then made an example of the flop of the ‘Vote for a Woman Campaign’ saying the people were never educated or empowered about the importance of women in decision making positions, nor the fact that the country had committed itself to a number of important international declarations, conventions and protocols that seek for the elevation of women in society. “But I must state that I was impressed with the EBC’s attitude. They were never haughty and humbly answered each and every question posed to them. This shows their ability and maturity. If they can polish up their act by including a voters education exercise, they can deliver an almost perfect election the next time around.”

He observed that as a result, Swazis still did not fully comprehend what kind of person was needed in Parliament, even voting for bread distributors and lift-givers.

“Education is crucial even though the system does not support this view. When uneducated people go to Parliament, the system itself takes a knock.

“The uneducated honourables may be appointed into important international or regional bodies, and you can imagine what can happen, whether he is a chairperson or rapporteur. He will not be able to comprehend what would be going on as it would be Yiddish to him.”

He noted that at times the King even takes irrelevant people to important sessions like the current UN General Assembly, saying this did the country no good as such trips turn out to be tourist forays for these people.

“Such are not tourist exercises, but working trips. The King should take more legislators with him, who would interact with their international counterparts and exchange ideas about development of their countries while also emulating in the country what they saw. I say it again the tourists should remain behind and only people who are going to do serious work out there should go.”

Link http://www.observer.org.sz/weekend/main.php?id=47220&section=mainweek

...Slams inept cabinet appointments

Former Prime Minister has slammed the tendency by the country’s authorities of appointing irrelevant people for critical cabinet posts, saying this always resulted in the lack of proper and efficient service delivery.

He mentioned that the country had high priority needs, while the political atmosphere in the region called for highly skilled and educated people in these positions, so as to compete regionally.

He observed that it is not that we do not have people with such skills and academic achievements.


“We have a lot of such people in and outside the country, it is only the system that denies them the opportunity to serve their country, that invested heavily on their education.”

He mentioned that even the head of government, the Prime Minister, should be highly educated and qualified so as to be able to lead a team of similar professionals. Responding to requests by this newspaper which asked that he conducts a post-mortem on the elections as a former cabinet leader, Dlamini mentioned that all the ministries were crucial these days and should be headed by capable and able people with the know-how to drive those ministries.


He mentioned that there were key ministries though, which should never be toyed around with, through ‘Kangaroo appointments’ of people with no knowledge of the ministry’s main chores.

He said key ministries included health, finance, education and economic planning.

“I still say that an economist should head the Finance ministry, while a teacher or lecturer should head the education ministry and so forth. Such people know about the job. In fact they have been doing that for the better part of their lives. Mtiti Fakudze was okay at Agriculture as he is trained for that, while Themba Msibi did well at education, even though he is not from that background.

“Probably, he was saved by the fact that he is from a trade union background, which deals with people. But I still do not believe that he was the ideal person for that portfolio, and this is why some things got out of his control,” he said.

Dlamini continued that education was crucial even though the current system failed to acknowledge that fact when you look at the treatment of teachers in the country.

“The trend in education regionally and globally these days tended to rest on science and technology and we must have a minister who is well versed in those matters so he could steer the country in the direction the whole world was taking.”

Dlamini explained that the Finance ministry was also very important and needed a leader with strong convictions and who stood by his beliefs.


“The last Parliament, of which I was part of, committed E50 million (Capacity building fund) of taxpayer’s money on a project without putting up structures for its proper usage and how to recoup it. What happened is that even the door-keeper (PS) who should have ensured that the money went to where it was intended, ended up being implicated in the alleged fraud that happened thereafter.

“This money was released after an order from the authorities, and a competent Finance Minister is the one who can put his foot down and oppose even such unwarranted orders that get to waste public funds,” Dlamini said.


When asked if he applied the same principles during his tenure as Prime Minister, Dlamini answered by saying the records spoke for themselves.

“For example, I put Solomon Dlamini at Education while deploying Themba Masuku at Agriculture. They were professionals in their fields, and this is supported by the fact that even today they hold senior positions in international organisations. These things can be done, as long as there is the political will,” he closed.

Link http://www.observer.org.sz/weekend/main.php?id=47221&section=mainweek