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Cabinet not defying King - PM

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MBABANE -  As all indcations point to the fact that Cabinet is going against His Majesty the King’s word regarding teachers who were on strike, Prime Minister Sibusiso Dlamini has come out to make the first public statement on the matter.

He says Cabinet will follow the instructions of His Majesty the King as pronounced at the people’s parliament last Saturday.

The PM says Cabinet and government have not defied the King and would never do so.

He said what was published in the media that Cabinet was defying the King was not from Cabinet but was a creation of certain people.

Dlamini said the controversy over His Maje-sty’s speech and supposed reaction of Cabinet to it was a creation of some structures who were believed by the media.

He revealed his dismay that some structures were hell-bent on setting government against the King. He said Cabinet had not issued any public statement or any instruction since the king made the pronouncement last week.

The PM said government belonged to His Majesty and it took instructions from him to implement them to the letter, without questioning them.

"We saw in the media that Cabinet said this and that. We do not know any of those things that were attributed to Cabinet," he said.

"Government listens when His Majesty speaks and we will always implement the wishes of the King and the Queen mother."

The PM said Cabinet’s position on the matter was that it respected His Majesty’s position on all matters he spoke about.

He said Cabinet just like the nation, heard what the King said and his wishes would be implemented.

He said this in an exclusive interview with this newspaper after a press conference at the Matsapha International Airport yesterday.

He was responding to a question on the position of government on the matter of fired teachers against what was said by His Majesty last week when he closed the week-long people’s parliament.

This is the first publicised official position of government on the fate of teachers fired for engaging in a strike action.

It came through at a time when teachers under their association, the Swazi-land National Association of Teachers (SNAT) went to Ludzidzini with two cows to thank His Majesty’s for his directive in solving their impasse with government.

SNAT visited the royal residence after government continued to fire teachers and block those who were expelled from returning to their workstations.

Following the teachers’ meeting with Her Majesty it was reported that the outcome was that all teachers should be allowed to return to class, as per His Majesty’s directive.

Yesterday, the PM left the country to represent His Majesty in a two-legged trip to Central Africa and the Middle East.His first stop will be Malabo, Equatorial Guinea where he will attend a meeting hosted by that country together with the Leon H. Sullivan Foundation meeting.

The ninth Leon H. Sullivan Foundation meeting will be attended by presidents and heads of state of Africa, international celebrities and artists.

It will be held from tomorrow, August 20 to 24.

From Malabo the PM will travel to Iran for another meeting of country leaders. Sibongile Mazibuko, President of SNAT, says her organisation has fully complied with His Majesty the King’s order.

She said SNAT had done its part and all teachers were back in class.

Mazibuko said teachers were willing to go the extra mile by teaching during the holidays.

She said even teachers from Ngwane Practising School in Nhlangani, who were locked out of their classrooms by the Regional Education Officer (REO) were ready to go back and teach.

The president said they indicated to her organisation that they would be at school on Monday to teach.

"They said they were willing to teach even under trees to help pupils catch up with their lessons," she said.

Mazibuko asked not to comment on what was said by the Prime Minister.

SD in controversial Iran meet

MBABANE –  Sibusiso Dlamini the Prime Minister will visit Tehran, Iran to attend a meeting for countries who are members of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).

The PM will represent His Majesty the King at the summit for heads of state.

NAM will hold its 16th summit from August 26 to 31.

Iran as a host country for the meeting was questioned by some countries, especially the west following that country’s controversial nuclear programme.

Dlamini said Swaziland was a friend of all countries of the world.

"Sitihlobo tawo onkhe emave

(We are friends to the world). Swaziland does not have enemies," he said.

One of the vocal countries against Tehran hosting the event is the United States of America.

President Barrack Obama’s administration publicly expressed its displeasure over world leaders attending the summit meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement in Tehran. "This is an organisation we’re not a member of.

Our point is simply that Tehran, given its number of grave violations of international law and UN obligations, does not seem to be the appropriate place," the State Department spokesperson, Victoria Nuland, was quoted in her daily news conference on Friday.

Responding to questions on the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon travelling to Tehran to attend the NAM Summit, Nuland said: "We’ve made our views known that we think that this is a strange place and an inappropriate place for this meeting."

According to reports from Iran, 41 countries have stressed their readiness to attend the conference at the highest level so far.

This is in addition to the 27 members who indicated that they would participate in the meeting at the level of foreign ministers, five states at the level of first vice-president and one country at the level of parliament speaker.

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