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PARLIAMENTARY CALL TO SAVE MONARCHY, NATION

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It is with great respect and humility that again I feel compelled to plead with both houses of Parliament to save our monarchy.

Every member of the august House should get a copy of the Constitution and read it carefully. Our tradition, culture and way of life as emaSwati hang in the balance as we see foreign and internal forces of change march to our borders. As I had indicated in my article, ‘Eswatini monarchy is in danger’, indeed His Majesty cannot continue to be in the centre of politics and endure insults and hate which are tearing our society apart. I once had an occasion to be in the company of Prince Guduza and Prince Simelane, among others, relaxed and talking generally. They told us of a simple old man who would come to the royal house and shout at King Sobhuza II openly, seemingly with no respect or fear whenever there were burning national issues. The King would say and do nothing at the scolding but take whatever counsel he brought with humility. After he had left he would say a King must listen to all emaSwati because he will never know where the wisdom will come from. Sometimes a king must allow his subjects to talk the truth with no fear and that king will be wise. People will know their king and make him wise or shut up in fear.

Constitution of Eswatini

I heard His Majesty saying we have a democratic Constitution but unfortunately it is not democratic. Ironically the spirit of the document is fully democratic from Chapter I Section (1) when it says ‘Swaziland is a unitary, sovereign, democratic kingdom. The democratic theme is very strong and follows throughout the document. In the political objectives, in Chapter 5, we find the same democratic theme. 58. (1) Swaziland shall be a democratic country dedicated to principles which empower and encourage the active participation of all citizens at all levels in their own governance. In economic objectives in the same Chapter 5, again we find the same democratic emphases. (e) The recognition that the most secure democracy is the one that assures the basic necessities of life for its people as a fundamental duty.

The Constitution, in the same Chapter 5, specifies the duties of a citizen among which it says as follows: Section 63 (e) The duty of a citizen is to promote democracy and the rule of law. The Constitutional preamble also confirms the consultative nature and democratic nature of the document. Whereas various vusela consultations, economic and constitutional commissions, political experiments and Sibaya meetings have been established and undertaken in the last thirty years in search of a sustainable home-grown political order; Whereas it is necessary to blend the good institutions of traditional law and custom with those of an open and democratic society so as to promote transparency and the social, economic and cultural development of our nation;
Now a democracy is simply defined as ‘government by the people’. These are elected having gone through and won elections. Our Constitution is rendered totally undemocratic by just one clause below.

CHAPTER VI THE EXECUTIVE - Executive authority of Swaziland where it talks about the appointment of a prime minister and other ministers: 67. (1) The King shall appoint the Prime Minister from among members of the House acting on recommendation of the  King’s Advisory Council; (2) The King shall appoint Ministers from both chambers of Parliament on the recommendation of the Prime Minister; (3) At least half the number of Ministers shall be appointed from among the elected members of the House. Chapter 6 Section 67 (1) (2) (3) are undemocratic and make a mockery of democracy and is actually an insult to the intelligence of emaSwati and the democratic Tinkhundla process they have to go through in the primary, secondary and parliamentary elections.  

Presently government is formed by a prime minister who is not elected, his deputy is not elected (in most cases), half of the ministers are not elected and these head the most important ministries in government. This government clearly belongs to the King as most of the members are basically answerable to the King as they come from no constituency. Why would such a government really care about us – people would ask? This is the reason people will attack the King, they feel he is government and the rest are just puppets. In politics resources are never enough and someone has to take the blame.

Amendment of Chapter 6 Section 67 (1) (2) (3). The amendment would not affect  His Majesty to still appoint members into both houses as presently done BUT allow the full houses of Parliament to vote for four members including the King’s appointees to go back to the people to seek a mandate to form a democratic government through the open ballot box. Eswatini will be great again.

Elected members

The Constitution needs this amendment urgently and all members of Parliament, in both houses, to do their duty as per the Constitution and start the process with immediate effect. Regardless of the outcome, this move will redeem elected members as they fight for democracy as per the spirit of the Constitution and voters will remember that. This amendment will help the very King they fear in the long run and history will confirm that there were men and women who stood for the truth even if it meant losing their jobs. Yes Parliament might be dissolved but only God knows what he has started.

Appointed Members Parliament

It should be clear that the spirit of the Constitution was for Eswatini to be democratic in every way. His Majesty has suffered great loss of love and respect from many through this Chapter 6 anomaly in an otherwise democratic Constitution. The continuing status quo places the monarchy in danger and all the families of all those closely related to it, which include most of the appointed members. Events can move fast and soon your families may be hunted like animals; ask history. Finally, the Constitution is calling all citizens to defend and promote democracy; Chapter 5 Section 63(e), and democracy will defend us all. The Law Society and concerned citizens can approach the media and give the nation better understanding of the Constitution and maybe play their part in averting a calamity which can take away all our livelihoods and push emaSwati into civil war. gabrielnxumalo868@gmail.com

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