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WHEN THERE IS NO WILL

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It is said where there is a will, there is a way. I am of the view that even the reverse is also true. Where there is no will there is no way. Instead there is a lot of problems and confusion. This applies clearly with the application of our Constitution.


There is no will from government to have a full application of our Constitution. What is taking us more than 17 years to align our laws with the Constitution?


When government feels like having a certain provision of the Constitution applied, it urgently rushes to Parliament and have that law passed. Swazis have been complaining about the four women who must be elected into Parliament if we do not meet the quota of women to be in the House during elections.


That has not been done and government has been saying there is no enabling law. Now that it wants to do it, it is rushing to Parliament to have it urgently passed.
This is abuse and the law will now not be scrutinised enough so that it is a good law. I want to think this is deliberately done.


I have transgressed from what I am thinking about. My thought is on Section 29 (6) which states that every Swazi child has a right to free education at least to the end of primary school. I notice that the ultimate goal according to the Constitution is that education should be free in the country but it seems we are not working towards achieving that.


What is worrying me the most though is that government now wants to deprive the Swazi child of his right.
Why is government, which is supposed to protect the rights of the Swazi child, allowing them to be deprived of their rights?


If government will allow schools to charge what is now commonly called top-up fees, is that not in breach of the Constitution?
I know that some arguments will be raised on this and people will say it is parents who want this.


I will not disagree that some parents are calling for it. The million Emalangeni question is why are the parents calling for this? Is it because Swazis have a lot of money that they want to pay even where there is no need? I beg to differ.


The problem is that after the introduction of free primary education there were some problems that led to the standard of education to drop. Parents want the best for their children and they therefore think paying will help raise the standard.


What dropped the standard? It is the late payment by government and schools running out of teaching material. It is government not delivering food on time. It is the late replacement of teachers.


Looking back, I realised that this was bound to happen. Our government was not willing to implement the provisions of the Constitution. There was just no will to have free primary education implemented. It was not until government was forced by the courts that it started implementing free primary education.


As one who was second in command in our government once addressed us and said they, as government, were dragged fighting and kicking to implement the provision. They were not willing. Now, if there was no willingness are we then to expect the best result from the implementation?
I somehow feel the failure of free primary education and then easily agreeing to top-up fees is a strategy to beat the provisions of the Constitution. I may be wrong but the apathy from government leads me to that conclusion.
Our government has statistics in its disposal and it knows the number of children in schools. So it knows how much food is needed per school per year and it should easily project properly when the budget is being prepared.
Now, if government does provide money to the Ministry of Education for the schools feeding scheme, why is the food not delivered on time in schools?
Why is there no measures taken against the person responsible? If government is not providing enough, what is the problem?
Why not increase the budget for education and decrease that of security forces which is not even audited? If there is no money why is government not coming out and say so and engage with the people of the country?
In doing that we will then ask our government to be transparent in their budgeting and spending. We will ask that the people be allowed to make submissions during budgeting.
Until government is transparent in its actions, we will always conclude that there is no will, even when it does not have the means.

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