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“The best way to fight an alien and oppressive culture is to embrace your own,” says an African proverb.

When one observes the infighting and bickering within political parties throughout Africa, one wonders if this is the best this foreign culture has to offer in teams of political systems.
The EFF has not been present in the SA Parliament for the presentation of SONA for several years. It has become a norm that one hour is set aside to kick out EFF members as they perform their usual shenanigans. Political parties are funded by western powers that don’t have our interests at heart, as we are constantly waging a fundamental struggle for resources with them. Our divisions and political infighting work very well for their cause. In last week’s article, I started to present the African democratic process that involved the evolution of our own Sibaya concept to become our Sibaya national policy and elective conference held at our under construction International Conference Centre (ICC). I would like to elaborate on the concept as a great deal of interest was received.

Swazi National Council

Our Constitution describes Sibaya (Swazi National Council) in complete detail in teams of how it is constituted and its functions. It says; “The people, through Sibaya, constitute the highest policy and advisory council (Libandla) of the nation.” King Sobhuza II, in one of his greatest speeches, said the people are the basis of our nationhood. We (monarchy) own nothing without the people. Everyone must have a voice, even a drunkard, because in his state of drunkenness he will tell the real truth (ingoloyi yeliciniso). EmaSwati can’t all be present at Ludzidzini Royal Residence to present their contributions for nation-building policies. This means that Sibaya must evolve to embrace modernity and take the national policy conference style and allow formal representation to cover every citizen. The Constitution further specifies who forms this body. Sibaya, as the Swazi National Council, is constituted by bantfwa’benkhosi, tikhulu and all adult citizens gathered at the official residence of the Indlovukazi under the chairmanship of the Ingwenyama, who may delegate this function to any official.

All adult citizens

All adult citizens have a right to contribute to this policy formation body, without fear as all emaSwati are equal at Sibaya. For a true African effective democracy this body must represent all emaSwati. Let us imagine we had 3 000 members and delegates coming from all national bodies, organisations, churches, councils, civil societies, youth groups, professional groups, businesses and many more. The 55th National Policy and Elective Conference of the African National Congress (ANC) took place from December 16 to 20, 2022 at the Johannesburg Expo Centre in Nasrec, Gauteng with 4 000 delegates coming from what they call branches. The difference would be that our Sibaya national policy conference delegates would be drawn from non-party citizens representing all national groupings and organisations. 

Annual general meeting (AGM)

The Constitution states that Sibaya functions as the annual general meeting of the nation, which may be convened at any time to present the views of the nation on pressing and controversial national issues. The authorities just have to implement a modern version of this concept through the announcement of the list of organisations, groups and national bodies to present delegates to the national AGM. Political parties may wish to influence events and collectively mobilise funding, but their preferred candidate for prime minister (PM) must go through the same Sibaya elective process, alongside independent candidates who would not join political parties. They would need to win elections through Tinkhundla, joint parliamentary elections (top four) and then win the Sibaya elective conference to form a government.  

Vusela exercise

A ‘vusela’ (meet and greet in simplified translation) refers to a series of public meetings held at each of the many imiphakatsi and Tinkhundla (constituencies) to discuss issues of importance with emaSwati. The setting is usually traditional, in some cases under trees, with an indvuna as chairperson. This exercise is very important in the Sibaya democratic process because it informs those who will eventually be part of the Sibaya national policy conference of the views and aspirations of ordinary emaSwati. These vusela meetings should be carried out a few months prior to the main Sibaya. This is a unique African democratic system that gives a voice to the simplest of citizens. They may not talk about high politics, but speak of issues affecting their day-to-day lives. They don’t know much about policies and politics, but know what they want. In each of these groups, you would find very wise men and women who usually don’t talk much and seek no attention but when they do speak, they speak wisdom. These are the wise members to be chosen to represent the imiphakatsi along with chiefs, tindvuna, bucopho and other traditional leaders at the Sibaya national conference.

Non-traditional representation

Unions, associations and professional bodies must all find formal ways of electing members (delegates) to represent them at the Sibaya national policy conference. They would be required to hold their annual general meeting with the purpose of electing members to present their views. They would have to first seek the views and aspirations of their peers. This must be a non-partisan nation-building collective exercise that would require every liSwati to think in terms of his or her patriotic duty and set aside all personal differences.

ICC Ezulwini  

The ICC in Ezulwini should play a vital role in the fostering of our Sibaya democracy. EmaSwati would dialogue under modern facilities showing off consensus traditional democracy as they elect their PM through the Sibaya elective conference. His Majesty would then appoint the winner back at Ludzidzini and charge him to form a democratic government of his choice. Ordinary emaSwati, who have been chosen at imiphakatsi and Tinkhundla, would sit with educated professional emaSwati once every five years and enjoy an opportunity to use that world-class facility to collectively build the country’s policies and elect their PM following a joint parliamentary election to provide four candidates. Just as King Sobhuza II advised, we need a mix of young and old, educated and not educated. The contestation would be about who can best deliver what Sibaya wants, not them telling us what they will do for us. Comment septembereswatini@gmail.com

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: Lutsango
Should Lutsango be included in bandlancane and traditional courts?