Mixed feelings about gelane's call for referendum
MBABANE – Senate President, Gelane Zwane’s call for a referendum has been met with mixed feelings.
Sharing her thoughts, Zwane said holding a referendum would surely give an answer to whether the nation wants a regime change or not. She said she was aware that talks of a regime change were doing rounds in communities.
She noted the importance of citizens being told the truth about the various political systems so they could make informed choice’s adding that there is a need for dialogue in the country.
The president was sharing her views after attending the nomination process for the replacement of Mtsambama Member of Parliament, Bheki Mkhonta.
"After it was clear that the attendance was poor, I then visited chiefdoms within Kontshingila. What I found was that many people, especially the youth, were at sports grounds where there were soccer games.
"I asked if those responsible for this if they wanted the grand child of Mahlokohla to come back to life and allow political parties," she said on Monday. She told them that their sponsors should provide the money necessary to hold a referendum.
Titus Mlangeni, president of the Law society of Swaziland, describes a referendum as a way of getting people’s opinions on which direction to take in important decisions of a country.
He underlined the fact that a referendum is a version of elections as the two are more or less the same.
"People vote for their views on given ideas where the country needs to know which to apply in a national referendum. The same thing happens when elections are being held, only, citizens vote for people to represent them in parliament other than ideas," he said.
The view of most of those interviewed is that the country is not ready for a referendum because there is a lot of political unrest. They said the country needs to go through a lot of changes for it to reach a stage where a referendum can be conducted.
Others, however, supported the idea of a referendum saying it could be the solution to the political unrest the country is currently engulfed in.
Most politicians interviewed were adamant that a referendum would be a waste of time. They said the country needs a dialogue where national issues of concern would be tackled and dealt with the right way. Others declined to comment asking to be left alone.
Among those was Chief Logcoco, who was among those who participated in the drafting of the Constitution, who was reluctant to comment much on the issue.
He referred this reporter to the Constitution which he said has self explanatory logistics and procedures. When further probed about his stand on the senate president’s call for a referendum, he said he has nothing to say.
"Do not make this about me or Gelane; it cannot be about just us.
This is a national matter for every Swazi. Stop cornering me and go out there," he said.
Government spokesperson Percy Simelane said government takes the Senate President’s call for a referendum as a personal view, not necessarily as a national position.
He said once a national position is in place it could only facilitate for the exercise (referendum) to take place.
"We have no reason to believe a referendum would not work for Swaziland because it has worked for the same country before. This was during the reign of King Sobhuza II," he said.
Jan Sithole, Swaziland Democratic Party (SWADEPA) President, said it is too late for such an ideology.
"It is too late because Tinkhundla was an imposed experiment which has dismally failed, its coming about was not as a result of a referendum. The architect thereof, King Sobhuza II, said it was an experiment and if it does not work Swazi’s should consider changing it," he said.
He said during the Epoch of 1973 Decree and during the current Constitution era, government voluntarily ratified international treaties from bodies which undeniably embrace universality of human rights, universality of democratic values through self determination, respect for the rule of Law, responsiveness of government, accountability to the electorate and pluralism and multiparty system of governance.
"The latest 2.4 billion loan condition is also the latest example that the referendum story in the face of the Constitution has long past its date of relevance," he further said.
Jan Sithole's submissions are correct, because those calling for a referendum when we are suppossed to be at a stage where we activate political parties to be ready for the election next year are employing delaying tactics and are at best being mischivious, just like those saying it would be waste of time and money (politicians). This last group as can be expected have a lot to lose when a new politican dispensation is ushered-in; and as can be expected must protest the status quo. Why? Beacause they are bound to lose if the Tinkhundla fuss is dismanttled, and its all about their stomachs and not the interests of all citizens. Bo Jan, Hlophe, TUCOSWA, PUDEMO, SIVE, SNAT and other formations need to roll-up their sleeves and go to work now and stop the nonsense of beating about the bush. If anything, they should stop talking about 1973 Decree because as the Attorney General said a while ago, that this is of no force or effect and as such political parties are unbanned. If anyone in government believes political parties are banned, that person should take the political parties to court and let's hear the verdict there. So guys stop going in circles, just do this thing and show government you mean business here, we look to you for solutions in this country that is quickly turning into an animal farm.
Jul 14, 2012, 8:16 AM, Burns Dlamini (Lobhoncela) (Burnspolitics@gmail.com)
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