27 September 2008
S’gayoyo disappointed Lobamba Lomdzala electorate
Stories by Alec Lushaba
Lobamba Lomdzala’s new MP elect Marwick Khumalo, who for two terms was Lobamba MP says there was no collusion between himself and former MP S’gayoyo Magongo that they would swap constituencies.
Interviewed this week after his election into the position of MP under Lobamba Lomdzala, Khumalo said when Magongo announced that he would now stand for nomination under the Mayiwane Inkhundla in the middle of his term, he (Khumalo) was out of the country and was as shocked as everybody else about his colleague’s move.
In fact, Magongo followed his dream, deserted the people of Lobamba Lomdzala but failed in the primary elections at his new constituency.
Khumalo said Magongo never hinted to him about his plans and probably he could have advised him against announcing his decision so early in the middle of his term.
“I told him as much that what he had done was political suicide to announce changing camps in the middle of your term of office. You don’t do that. He acknowledged his mistake, but it was already water under the bridge. We have tried to apologise.
“The people of Lobamba Lomdzala were disappointed by his move, more-so because they had approached me back in 2003 to be their MP. At the time I declined because I had already committed myself to continue serving my last term at Lobamba. I then approached Magongo, who is also a homeboy of the area, if he was interested to stand, he was quite happy to stand and they supported him greatly,” he said.
About his change of camps, Khumalo said back in 2003 he was approached by his father (Nkomnophondo) after being persuaded by people of Lobamba Lomdzala to get him come back home and develop the area.
“He advised me to go and meet them. I did went to Mahlanya and scores of people came over and expressed their interest to have me back, but I told them then that I was not ready because there were still projects that I was yet to complete at Lobamba. It was not the right time then. I told them that I was aware that there was someone interested to come in and that was Magongo,” he said.
Khumalo said when his term elapsed at Lobamba he was lobbying to get a Senator seat and had not told himself about running for election until the people of Lobamba Lomdzaba renewed their interest to have him stand for nomination.
“I was of the view that I was to have a rest at Senate. But people persistence forced me to take their offer, after all, I am from Lobamba Lomdzaba, where I have a home,” he said.
Khumalo said he leaves Lobamba happy because he has achieved his goals and bide them farewell by visiting all the five imiphakatsi.
“I owe a lot of gratitude of Lobamba for the investment they did to me. Today I am know all over the world politically, through them. Even if I was not going to nominated at Lobamba Lomdzala, I wouldn’t have stood for a third term,” he said.
Today, Khumalo is replaced at Lobamba by his younger brother Majahondvwa.
“I never did him any favour to win, despite for brotherly support. He has been in the game longer than I am, and I hope he has learnt a lot working with people,” he said.
He said to run for the MP position was his choice and happy that he (Majahodvwa) won.
Khumalo said he encouraged all his people, bucopho and Indvuna yenkhundla to take a shot at the election and they did, but only for his brother to win.
EBC needed time
The Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) needed time to adapt to its new environment, Lobamba Lomdzala MP elect Marwick Khumalo said.
He said the commission was working against time.
“They are very new in the process. They needed time to be trained, in order to get in depth understanding of the process of election management,” he said.
….Laws now inconsistent with the Constitution
Khumalo said the biggest challenge of the new government is to amend all the existing laws that are now inconsistent with the Constitution.
He said for example, the Elections Order says the number of people to second a nomination should be 15, yet the Constitution talks of 10 people.
“The Constitution further says that if a person has stayed in an area for three months or associated with that area can be eligible to vote or voted. This why we have cases like that of DJ Nice (Mandla Dlamini) which are raised out of ignorance of the Constitution,” he said.
Khumalo said the laws need to be re-aligned to the Constitution and this is not the problem of the EBC.
“Look, this Constitution needs to be improved. For instance, the position of Indvuna Yenkhundla is weakened. According to the Constitution, it is now Bucopho that forms the Regional Council and they have the power to pass a vote of no confidence to the Regional Administrator
“Whilst the Constitution clearly defines the roles and functions of Bucopho and MP, it only mentions Indvuna Yenkhundla once and does not confer any other duties than just chairing the Inkhundla meeting. This is a serious flaw of our Constitution in terms of the political structure,” he said.
Parliament will never mature
The sad story to this thing is that the political system in this country will never mature.
“The level of continuation is very much lacking, because every five years you bring new people. By the time they start to understand their intricacies of how Parliament operates, they are gone. This is where as media you start saying where have they been all along to raise pertinent issues that late. It is not because they have been doing nothing, they were lost in terms of understanding what is required of them. Unfortunately, by that time it is late, they are going back to the election and a number of them are lost,” he said.
Khumalo said this game requires people to understand what it means.
“What helped me most was that for eight and half years I have been a Parliamentary reporter and I got to master the Parliamentary operations. So when I got in, there was nothing new for me to learn or culture shock,” Khumalo noted.
He said those who lost out were going to add value had they returned.
“However, having said that, there are those who became so occupied with their Parliamentary business to the point that they lost touch with the electorate. Once you do that, then you are history, because you cannot be in this game, if you don’t keep in touch with your people’s developmental needs.
“I am yet to see a political party that does not have a developmental agenda in the whole world. Any political party has a developmental agenda and this is not unique to us. Once you lose the people and tell yourself that you will worry with legislating laws, then you are history,” Khumalo said.
He said people’s welfare needs to be of paramount importance to any legislator, be it shelter, water, healthcare, access roads and food.
“Look what is happening with the ANC in South Africa, they are going to the national elections next year and they don’t talk about making laws, but they are saying what they will do to address the needs of their people.
“You can have the best laws and policies, but if they fail to deliver on the fundamental people’s needs, you are out.
“They have re-called President (Thabo) Mbeki, not because he has failed to put in place sound laws, but because they feel people’s needs are still not met,” he said.
Barnabas was the best thing for me as PM – Marwick
“I will never be excited by the appointment of a Prime Minister as I was in 1996 when Sibusiso Dlamini was appointed. I had total confidence in him, and very happy that at last we have got someone like him in this position.
“I had been impressed by his record as Finance minister and thought he would transfer his skills into his new position,” Khumalo said.
He said there were others like Prince Makhosini, even though he was still a young boy to recall his achievements and was a teenager when Prince Maphevu was still in charge.
“By the way I relate very well with A.T. Dlamini (recent past PM), but the person I was thrilled to see occupying that seat was Barnabas. So I was disappointed from that time to this day. Whoever now comes in, I now take it with a pinch of salt. I admired him whilst still at finance and I thought he was so dynamic and based on that I was excited with his appointment. I said finally the country has got the right man for the job.
“I don’t think I will ever have that happiness, joy, excitement – I will ever have that again,” he said.
Khumalo said he has been indifferent thereafter, what he had seen as finance was never transferred that into his PM position.
Power of recall
Khumalo said the previous Parliament rejected the clause on the power of the electorate to recall its member on the basis that the law was not fair.
He said the law or the clause seem to have been only directed to elected members of Parliament.
“What about the Senators and the appointed MPs. Would the appointing authority exercise the same right as the electorate if he was not happy with his appointees?
“In fact, would Parliament, which appoints the 10 Senators exercise that right when it feels that its appointees were not performing? So that was the big issue, nothing more,” he said.
However, Khumalo cautioned that such power would create chaos in the country, because the moment an MP has been elected, the losers gang up against him/her and want to see that person fail immediately.
“Given the so many court challenges and bitterness of some of the losers, what kind of Parliament would we have if that authority is exercised by the electorate,” he wondered.
Khumalo said whatever standards and guidelines can be put in place, it can never work.
MPs welfare created pandemonium for seats
The improvement of Parliamentarians welfare is the major reason why so many people now want to become MPs.
“At the time we did it, we were castigated, but now all of sudden wants to benefit from it. In any case, our welfare is nothing or a small adjustments, now talking copmparatively with what I have seen in other countries. In Kenya, you can’t touch them with their welfare. Our MPs still drive long hours night and day going to Parliament, at a risk of losing their own lives. We still don’t have houses for MPs around Lobamba where they can put like it is the case in Botswana, South Africa ad other countries.