Elderly man questions King
LUDZIDZINI – A senior citizen yesterday complained that His Majesty King Mswati III was not following in the footsteps of King Sobhuza II.
This transpired yesterday on the last day of the Sibaya (People’s Parliament), which was commissioned by the king on Monday for purposes of deliberating on issues that troubled the nation.
As soon as he took to the podium, Nkosiyemantjonga Mkhaliphi, 78, did not beat about the bush but went straight to the point. He complained that His Majesty the King had reneged on his promise to follow in the footsteps of his father – King Sobhuza II – when he ascended to the throne in 1986.
"At the inception of your reign, Your Majesty, you made a great promise to the nation! You said, during the course of your reign, you would follow in the footsteps of King Sobhuza," he said, and then paused before going on to say, "You haven’t as yet started following in the footsteps of King Sobhuza. It has not happened."
The countrywide evictions that have pervaded this country in the recent past seemed to be Mkhaliphi’s main concern.
He said it was very disheartening that each time there were evictions; the king’s name would crop up, courtesy of other royal family members.
Mkhaliphi said he did not understand why such people were still afforded the opportunity to be close to the king.
"There are black sheep even among your siblings, Your Majesty! One of them is even looking at me right now," he said, inviting wild applause from the audience, which seemed taken by what the old man had to say. He stole the moment, and everyone was asking for his identity.
"What did he say his name was?" people would ask each other, repeatedly from the floor as Mkhaliphi pressed on with his submission. He asked the king to start cracking the whip, right next to him, saying his brothers should be the first among the casualties. Mkhaliphi said it was the first of its kind that a king would be roped in on land disputes.
"If it is true that people are being evicted on the king’s instructions, then it is very unfortunate. I am really not comfortable with the fact that a king is capable of evicting people. Where should they go?" he asked, before emphasising that the king should relieve some of his brothers from positions of authority.
Mkhaliphi also touched on the issue of farms that fall under the ownership of commercial conglomerate, Tibiyo TaKaNgwane. He suggested that these vast acres of land should be taken back to the people. "What would His Majesty do with the land if it is not given back to the people, who are in a good position to till it?" he enquired. Mkhaliphi, in conclusion, said he loved the king and pleaded with Swazis to retain the institution of the monarchy.
The country’s history was on the spotlight at the last instalment of the Sibaya as various other speakers took turns, seeking answers on the issue of land ownership. Another speaker who wanted some clarification on land issues was Allen Mango, a resident of Vuvulane.Mango questioned the "in trust" element on land in the kingdom. It should be noted that it is always said that land is held by the King, in trust for the Swazi nation.
He doubted that when the decision was taken that land should be held "in trust" for the nation, the intention was to open up a `free for all’ among royalty. "No, the intention was not to allow princes to ride roughshod over our interests," he emphasised. He asked: "Who really owns land in the country: Swazis or Tibiyo?" Mango reminded the leadership that Swazis did not become what they were by choice but by fate.
"So, we cannot keep quiet. This issue touches on our very existence," he said.
Lady criticised for defending PM
LUDZIDZINI – A woman who tried to defend Prime Minister Sibusiso Dlamini was booed, resulting in a brief disruption of proceedings at the Ludzidzini Royal Residence
This was during the last instalment of the People’s Parliament commissioned by His Majesty the King on Monday.
Prime among issues that have earned the government leader the tag of "Public Enemy Number One" was the contentious Finance Circular no.1 of 2010, which many people believe the Prime Minister is its main beneficiary.
The controversial legislative text awards politicians hefty perks while in office and after retirement.
So unpopular is the Circular that Swazis would even divert from their well known reputation of respect.
This was evident at the royal cattle byre yesterday when one woman, identified as Jester Khumalo, attempted to defend the Prime minister on the piece of legislation. There was near chaos.
"The Prime Minister is very educated. If he says something, we should accept it without question. If he says there is no increment for three years, so be it," she said, inviting the wrath of the gathering.
People rose from the ground, which was against the norm where people are expected to remain seated while inside the enclosure.
They came short of manhandling the elderly woman. She would only have to appreciate the set-up at the cattle byre where speakers were at a distance from the rest of the audience.
Senator Moi Moi Masilela tried to intervene but people would hear none of it.
Timothy Velabo Mthethwa, acting governor of Ludzidzini Royal Residence was not pleased with the reaction from the audience.
"Swazis do not behave like this. Even if there is something that did not augur well with them, the norm is that they would send one person to drum sense to a transgressor," he advised.
People, however, only got to calm down when the woman left the podium.
Another speaker advised that in order for the king to be left out of any criticism emanating from deeds by a prime minister, he should stop appointing Prime Ministers and allow people to be instrumental in the choice of the leader of government.
Thulani Khumalo of Bethel said the Prime Minister should be appointed after a serious vetting process, so as to avoid problems during his tenure.
Prime Minister Sibusiso Dlamini, was conspicuously missing during yesterday’s vibrant morning session.
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