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USE YOUR VOTE WISELY

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IT starts with Members of Parliament (MPs). If they do not have a voice on how government spends money, and if they only care about circulars to fill their monthly salaries and exit packages, then all the voting activities currently going on are just futile.

Imagine all the money that is being spent to ensure that people are able to register and vote for their chosen MPs – only to vote for someone into Parliament who will become an added drain to government coffers – to take more from the tax we pay to government on a daily basis!


I don’t want to claim to know anything about politics, but allow me to point out a few facts about MPs; my opinion on what they are capable and not capable of doing for the nation. For one, MPs are policymakers not funders/investors of community projects, roads, street lights, clinics, water and electricity schemes, and the likes. They are just like you and me, they have no money to dole out for development projects, the only difference is that they have been elected to securitise and pass government policies for the welfare of the nation as a whole.


They are supposed to be the voice of their constituencies in all the development programmes that government approves each year. Through our MPs, your and my interests in terms of how government spends money for development should be taken care of.
So people should stop voting for certain people under the guise that these people will build them roads, clinics, increase elderly grants  and send their children to school for free. Government is by far the major entity responsible for the development that is going on in the country.


Even with donor funding, there is a donor fund coordination unit within the Ministry of Economic Planning and Development that pools all external funding to redistribute to priority development areas/programmes in the country. An MP only motivates for a share of these funds so that government invests in their constituencies according to the interest of the people that each MP advocates for.


If constituents are willing to waste their votes on people who only care about their stomachs, government will continue to implement national budgets that the country does not afford, and better yet, in all the billions of Emalangeni spent, a tiny measly portion will trickle down to benefit the ordinary citizen.


Government’s cash-flow is currently in disarray, we need MPs who can stand their ground and direct government to invest in programmes that bring value to the nation, projects that will increase revenue for the nation rather than keep draining government’s wallet and demanding more tax from you and me.

  Some of our MPs have become Parliament furniture and special ornaments over the years that are simply a drain to the G-wallet. Some of them cannot even imagine a life outside Parliament where they would be compelled to earn their keep just like everyone else without having a claim on ridiculous sitting allowances, among the other special benefits concocted by our legislators.


Seemingly, they are very good at passing bills that have to do with salary reviews and exit packages, but standing up for the ordinary Swati in a life that is increasingly becoming unaffordable in the kingdom is an unfathomable challenge to our MPs.


We need a new stock of MPs who will understand the ins and outs of the different government ministries. Furthermore, we need MPs who are clued up on the mandates and performances of the different State enterprises such as the Swaziland Electricity Company (SEC), Swaziland Post and Telecommunications Corporation (SPTC), Swaziland Water Services Corporation (SWSC), National Agricultural Marketing Board (NAMBoard), National Maize Corporation (NMC) and the Swaziland National Housing Board (SNHB), just to name a few.
It is important because if MPs were doing their job, if MPs were really sticking up for you and me, SEC would think twice about price gauging electricity consumers just to earn cushy profits in the regions of E144 million.


The SNHB would never have even considered increasing rent by a whopping 15 per cent and continue to operate under the auspice of providing affordable housing for the nation. We would have principal secretaries demanding proper service delivery and accountability within government such that no civil servant would be hired really to run down government vehicles, wasting fuel on never ending trips to useless meetings and personal errands. It’s all in the hands of our MPs, but can we really count on them?


Development is about taking ourselves seriously and demanding a better standard of living for every citizen of this country.
Every cent that goes into government’s wallet and every cent that government then turns around to spend should embody the commitment the country has made to improve the standard living of emaSwati, and hence, take us through to Vision 2022. Voters, together with their MPs, should really think about an MP’s job description and stop adding more useless furniture and untouchable ornaments into our Parliament. We deserve better, certainly not MPs we will end up hearing from once in every five years.

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