Sunday, September 14, 2008


Times of Swaziland

29 August 2008


Time for change

Martin Dlamini (Editor)

Politics is a dirty game. Some ‘politicians’ have learnt this the hard way.

While some losers have been gracious in defeat, others have taken the vote of no confidence with utter shock and disbelief.

Some have run to court, where they may have a genuine case to present, but others simply to challenge a people’s desire for change.

The elections may have proceeded smoothly in most areas, but to say the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) was anywhere near being fully prepared for this national assignment would be misleading.

The unprecedented number of complaints, protests, postponements etc is the result of a team that was evidently ill-equipped to the task.

It was forced to rush against time trying to fulfil the constitutional requirements only to skip, flout or overlook certain areas that have now found people queuing up at the High Court.

The alleged tampered seal at the Mbabane East constituency is inexcusable and brings the entire elections into disrepute. How many boxes were tampered with elsewhere?

More than 12 outgoing Members of Parliament have failed to make it back. I congratulate the people of those areas who have voted for change but only if it was for a better candidate. By better, I mean a man/woman of integrity, Cabinet material who fully comprehends this country’s major weaknesses and has useful ideas on how to help move this country forward.

This must be one with a proven track record but I know this is foreign language to them because they were deprived of proper civic education to begin with.

I offer no congratulations to voters who were only paying loyalty to a soccer sponsor, a food donor or a shebeen king or queen or popular DJ or musician. They will reap what they have sewn.

Just about everybody thinks they are Parliament material, thanks to the outgoing parliamentarians.

Those who feel musicians make good politicians will only have themselves to blame when they can hardly afford the entry fee to the gigs these artists will be charging them once they get to Parliament. Nothing comes free.

Sadly the price we will all have to pay at the end of the day, is trying to earn a living in a deceased economy.

September 19 should be a very important day in our calendars as it will decide our future as a country.

We need individuals who understand fiscal discipline, economic reforms, how governments operate, are familiar with policy formulation, policy monitoring and implementation, up to speed with international developments and are familiar with treaties, conventions and declarations.

They should also be individuals who will refuse to fit the description of rubber stamp; candidates who will put self-interest aside and question non-priority spending.

It must be people who will not be intimidated by labadzala or threats of Parliament dissolution if they do not push legislation in favour of the ruling party.

This should not be an employment opportunity for the unemployed.

This is the last opportunity this country has to salvage what left of this economy and we have an obligation to our children who deserve to find a Swaziland, not a Swambabwe, when they grow up.

The high voter turnout is very encouraging and one can only hope it represents the desire for change. It should mean people have suddenly become aware of the power of their vote and that such numbers can be relied upon to rise in protest when decisions that are not in the best interest of the country are forced down their throats.


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