10 August 2008
Council of ministers to go in 2 weeks
BY MAKHOSI MAGONGO
MBABANE—The Council of Ministers is likely to be dissolved shortly after the Primary Elections to be held on August 23, 2008.
This was the case during the 2003 elections, as the Sibusiso Barnabas Dlamini-led Council of Ministers was sent home around the same period.
This could also explain why ministers are still in office.
Some of the ministers have been nominated to stand for elections, and allowing them to go home after the primary elections will afford them an opportunity to campaign freely, as doing so while in office would give them unfair advantage over competitors.
According to a Liqoqo member, who wishes not to be named, once the ministers are gone, either the Chief Officer at the King’s Office, Bheki Dlamini, or the Secretary to Cabinet, Sandile Ceko, will take charge of government operations. The arrangement will remain so until a new Parliament, and subsequently a new cabinet is put in place.
"In 1998, when Cabinet went home, Andreas Fakudze became in charge of government operations. In 2003, there was no Chief Officer, so Paul Shabangu (the then King’s Private Secretary) was in charge of government operations. This time, it will either be the Chief Officer or the Secretary to Cabinet," said the member of the powerful Liqoqo.
The Liqoqo member further said it was expected that the King’s Advisory Committee would be dissolved after the secondary elections. The committee is chaired by Prince Tfohlongwane, and some of its powerful members are Prince Mahlaba, former PM Sibusiso Barnabas Dlamini, Sandlane Zwane, Bheka Mabuza (Secretary) Prince Sobandla Chief Magudvulela, to name but a few.
"Our committee will wait for Parliament to take shape, then the king will announce the dissolution, which should also apply to the other advisory committees such as the Ludzidzini Council, and the Border Restoration Committee," he said.
He clarified that in the absence of Cabinet, Liqoqo will not necessarily have responsibility over government operations.
"That responsibility lies with the person to be announced by the king," he said.
Secondary elections are slated for September, after the reed dance and the 40/40 celebrations.
The elections process has already started as nominations were conducted last weekend, where ministers such as Elijah Shongwe, S’gayoyo Magongo, Njabulo Mabuza, and Hlob’sile Ndlovu were nominated.