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DPM threatened us - MPs

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MBABANE — The DPM is alleged to have threatened MPs with contempt after finding them in the canteen when the vote for the reversal of the vote of no confidence was about to be held.

The Deputy Prime Minister (DPM), Themba Masuku, followed closely by his security personnel, walked out of the House of Assembly upon realising that the number of Members of Parliament (MPs) in the chamber was dwindling as the vote was about to take place.

Meanwhile, inside the House, Hosea MP Mduduzi Mabuza stood up to bring to the Speakers attention that only 29 members were present and, therefore, the house could not form the required quorum to hold the vote.

According to the Standing Orders, 30 members are required before a vote can be taken.

Charged

In the canteen, however, the DPM is said to have told Mntfongwaneni MP Patrick Gamedze and Nhlambeni MP Frans Dlamini that they should return to the House as the Attorney General (AG) had indicated that the MPs who had just walked out could be charged with contempt according to the Standing Orders.

It is then that the MPs including Madlange-mpisi MP Bongani Mdluli walked back into the chamber. This happened at around 10:30pm. Mabuza had tried but in vain to ensure that a formal count was made by the Speaker.

Procedurally, when the required quorum is not formed, the Speaker is supposed to make a count before adjourning the House for a short period to distinguish whether the proceedings can continue or not.

Gamedze when contacted yesterday confirmed that the DPM had come to the canteen where the MPs were watching the proceedings on the TV monitor together with ministers’ drivers.

Surprised

"Yes, we were all surprised to see the DPM and he told the MPs to go back inside as there was a possibility that they could be charged with contempt by the AG," confirmed one of the drivers, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Gamedze when he returned to the House on Monday, told the Speaker that he was unhappy that he had not been given a chance to debate the matter and had, therefore, walked out.

Dlamini had also wanted to debate the issue of the reversal but the debate was, according to the two, prematurely adjourned.

I was lobbying - DPM

 

MBABANE — The Deputy Prime Minister Themba Masuku said he did not go to the canteen to scare or threaten the MPs.

Masuku said while he was in the House, he realised that the number of MPs was decreasing.

"I then went outside to see how many MPs were there so that we could continue with the day’s business, which was very important," said Masuku.

He said he might have mentioned that the Attorney General Majahenkaba Dlamini had asserted that the MPs could face a charge of contempt, but that was not to scare them in any way.

"I was merely lobbying them to come back to the House and I believe I was able to convince them," said Masuku.

 

He said as a responsible Swazi citizen it was his duty to ensure that the MPs formed a quorum.

"I convinced them and did not force them," he said. Masuku said they could have also convinced him otherwise. "This was just pure lobbying," he said.

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