Times of Swaziland
26 August 2008
Letter to the Editor
Thank you for publishing my letter in your great newspaper which seeks to cover a range of issues and views.
I would like to address myself to the much talked about the issue of corruption.
It has been interesting to watching the Honourable ones (MPs and Senators alike) from the day the king summoned the nation to the cattle byre and after their ultimate discharge from Parliamentary duties.
Some took their impending and ultimate discharge with stoic nonchalance, at least in public. Others were worried, what with not knowing what the future holds for them. I will address myself to both camps as what I am going to say applies to both equally. Here Mr Editor I am talking about the provisions of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Swaziland which hitherto has been a document shrouded in mystery for some or dog-eared from enthusiastic over usage for others.
Unfortunately the coming into force of our constitution has not been with a clear and clean start which has sparked much debate and dissatisfaction, what with conflicting laws still in place together with the concomitant organs which they found also still in place in their original forms.
The new organs or institutions created by the new constitution are yet to be formed or functional as intended by the constitution.
Section 240 and 241 of the constitution clearly regulates the behaviour of public office bearers in as far as it pertains to probity and avoidance of corrupt practices. I may be directing the spotlight unfairly to the Honourable ones, but have no choice because they are the ones closest to us in the myriad of corridors of power in the country. That some of our MPs were nonchalant about their dismissal and at the same time quietly worried is with good reason.
On the one hand we have such lovely provisions to finally eradicate corrupt practices whilst on the other they have not been invoked! Most importantly these sections provide for, among others, declaration of assets by an individual before and after ascension to public offices. What we have now, as the terms of office come to an end for most appointed public officers, are officers laughing their way home while a critical instrument to sift corrupt ones lies idle.
Others are cursing themselves for not having helped themselves on the loot in similar fashion as their colleagues, whilst they still had time, hence the worried looks. I hope and pray that as the next lot of public officers jostle and shape up to be elected and appointed to public office this provision together with Section 173 will come into effect so that we start off with a clean public service concerned with only rendering impeccable service to the citizens of this country who have been long denied up to standard service by self-serving and self interest promoting public office bearers who see their appointment into such offices as a golden opportunity to settle personal scores, if none, cultivating new ones at the expense of the taxpayer!