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MPS ARE CAPTIVE TO DEBTS

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The greatest tragedy of our time in Eswatini was providing space for hypocrites and charlatans, inside and outside the church, the opportunity to cultivate and perfect the cult of veneration of the institution of the monarchy and by the same token installing apotheosis into power typical to the biblical times when people strayed from the path of God and created, installed and worshipped earthly idols and gods.

The call to brand this country with Hallelujah banners has illuminated the extent of the moral decay – particularly within the church and its leadership, of course extending to the so-called innocent bystanders – that has birthed indifference to evil, which is more insidious than evil itself.

Reaction

But even more revealing has been the reaction of some church leaders, not forgetting the war-mongering fight fire-with-fire Housing and Urban Development Minister Prince Simelane, to the Hallelujah branding and resultant desecration, burning and destruction of the banners that had been mounted at monumental costs to the tax and ratepayers of this country. The question lingers as to who approved these budgetary excesses. As can be expected, leading the charge in the condemnation of the destruction of the Hallelujah banners among the church leadership was the leader of the politically captured League of Churches, Samson Hlatjwako, saying this was a curse. This is a man who never condemned the alleged killing and maiming of dozens of emaSwati by security forces at the height of the pro-change protests. He and his ilk remain deafeningly silent as the same security forces continue to harangue, persecute and torture people, including the elderly, from constituencies of pro-change lawmakers. He remains silent while two Members of Parliament (MPs) Mduduzi Bacede Mabuza and Mthandeni Dube are prosecuted in the name of the law for talking politics.

Tongues

Hlatjwako and his ilk have never pronounced themselves on matters of social justice, a sore point to the political status quo, ostensibly because the church is and should not involve itself in politics. That it is not their business to interfere if and when government and the leadership are at cross-purposes with God by alienating people’s fundamental human rights and liberties bestowed by the very Creator. But their tongues are loose when it comes to parroting government and the leadership untruths on dialogue in the resolution of differences yet violence is their weapon of choice to silence dissenting voices calling for political reformation.

As I see it, government and the leadership’s apt repeated statements of subscribing to dialogue as a catalyst to resolving issues has been just that, empty rhetoric with no corresponding practical efforts to make that a reality. Why, Speaker of the House of Assembly Petros Mavimbela has allegedly been captured, apparently by the Executive arm of government, to derail efforts by legislators to table motions that speak to the petitions from the various constituents handed to MPs before government’s unwise banning of this civic duty that triggered the mayhem that followed.  Yes, Speaker Mavimbela, backed by the turncoat Matsanjeni North MP Phila Buthelezi, who was recently rewarded with the Labour and Social Security ministerial position for his lack of principles, last week denied the tabling of a motion apropos the petitions, by Lobamba Lomdzala MP Marwick Khumalo, on a flimsy excuse. Instead Mavimbela prioritised a three-day retreat this week for the lawmakers at the government-owned Pigg’s Peak Hotel, thereby triggering another controversy over its funding.

What is intriguing is that MPs appear impotent to deal with Speaker Mavimbela because increasingly it has become evident that they are not singing from the same hymn book. This apparent lack of cohesion is often to the detriment of the national interests and, therefore, those of the electorate perhaps with the exception of Mavimbela’s Mhlambanyatsi constituency who may still repose satisfaction with his performance to date. The question is if the majority of MPs are at odds with the Speaker why is he still leading the House? The answer is very simple and has, in fact, been the Achilles heel to successive parliaments perhaps since the dawn of the tinkhundla political experiment.

Representatives

It is the debt trap elected representatives of the people dig themselves into immediately they are elected. Remember, at the point the MPs are elected the majority have no clue about politics or what it is that is expected of them once in Parliament because the motivation for standing for elections has more to do with stomach politics than anything of substance. Hence once elected many rush for the status symbols such as double-cabin vans if not the Toyota Fortuner sports utility vehicles that have become synonymous with MPs.

But how do debts created by these material, often times vanity, acquisitions interfere with the work of MPs, you might wonder. Simple, they compromise MPs’ ability to engage in real and robust politics that may ruffle the feathers of the ruling elite, period. Consequently, MPs are forced to tread softly and carefully around issues – including avoiding politics – to ensure that the powers that be have no reason to either prorogue or dissolve Parliament thus leaving them with a mountain of debts. Consequently MPs remain captive to the debts they create till the end of their tenure hence, in this instance, they cannot remove the Speaker for fear this may not be endorsed by the ruling elite, perhaps even leading to an unhappy ending for them. Cry the beloved Eswatini!

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