Why blame Mario Masuku?
This week I listened to Prime Minister Sibusiso Dlamini speaking in Senate, after Senator Themba Msibi had asked him to respond to an article that appeared in the City Press, concerning the Prime Minister’s trip to the IMF.
The PM denied going to the IMF cap-in-hand to beg for budgetary finance.
Are we supposed to pretend there is nothing wrong with the fiscal position of Swaziland?
The PM denied going to the IMF to beg for money.
He said they had gone there to present the country’s Fiscal Adjustment Roadmap (FAR).
What surprises me and many other people is the fact that we all know that government went to the IMF to seek a letter of comfort, against a E500 million loan from the World Bank and the ADB.
This letter was turned down by the IMF in that they could not support government’s request for funding until government had made some fiscal adjustments.
So, why then is he now denying that they had gone to seek funding from the IMF? Why else would they have gone there to present the FAR when they did not need the IMF’s assistance?
Swaziland is ravaged by poverty and HIV/AIDS and yet the Prime Minister still has the audacity to stand up in Parliament and deny obvious truths in newspaper articles.
I am disappointed in the members of Senate for wasting time and money to go and discuss newspaper articles.
There are far more serious pressing issues that should have been discussed on the day, rather than for Senator Msibi to make an issue of an article that appeared in the City Press.
This is the reason why many today believe there is a democratic imbalance in Senate.
There are too many appointed members than there are elected ones.
Why would these appointed senators try to salvage an already deteriorated and tainted image of Swaziland by trying to force out a denial from the Prime Minister, on a trivial newspaper article?
What about the 70 per cent of Swazis who are languishing in poverty?
What has the Prime Minister got to say about them?
What has the Prime Minister got to say about his members of Cabinet who have been found guilty by Parliament for financial misconduct amidst an economic decline?
The Parliament finance committee recently found Minister Lindiwe Dlamini and her PS guilty of mishandling E31million of taxpayers’ money.
In other countries, the minister would have been dismissed forthwith together with her PS, Thembinkosi Mamba.
We all know there is no piece of land in this country that could cost as much as E31million. The question I have is how long has this been happening?
For how long has the ministry approved payments without Parliament’s approval?
The PS could have done this knowing very well that even if they were caught, they would still keep their jobs.
Another minister, Jabulile Mashwama, wrote a letter authorising SAPPI to sell national assets without the succinct approval of Parliament. Even when Parliament ordered her to withdraw that letter, she did not even bother to. This just goes to show how the government of Swaziland operates. Why then would members of Senate go out of their way to question newspaper issues instead of questioning what the Prime Minister intends to do about his Cabinet.
No wonder people feel that the composition in Senate needs to be adjusted to at least a 50/50 between appointed members and elected members.
Most of the appointed members have no clue about the situation on the ground.
They are so detached from reality that they have the luxury to discuss and deny newspaper articles.
I was also shocked to hear Senator (appointed) Moi Moi Masilela say, "Where is this newspaper from? If it is South African then I am not surprised because they have been at war with us for a long time."
Is South Africa at war with Swaziland?
This is no laughing matter.
It is a very serious issue and the statement should have earned a reprimand from the Prime Minister, if he was concerned about the image of the country.
Not long ago, the Central Bank of Swaziland governor was quoted as saying that something drastic needed to be done about the fiscal position of the country.
Finance Minister Majozi Sithole was also quoted as saying that government reserves could not sustain paying the civil service for the next three months. Now the Prime Minister has denied that Swaziland is experiencing fiscal problems.
The PM said, "The country’s economy might not be what we would like it to be, but there is economic growth..."
The shocking part is that we do not see any economic growth in the country, more especially with 300 employees from the Sikhuphe airport’s contractor being laid off because of government’s failure to pay.
What of the closure and subsequent laying off of more than 1000 employees of SAPPI Usutu mill and the editing of a draft report to the United Nations, by Cabinet on the progress government has made on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)?
The tax imbursements fund has run dry, with diminished SACU receipts. Could this then be the economic growth that the Prime Minister is talking about, or maybe he knows that there is plenty of money in the Consolidated Fund?
We know now that the appointees in Senate were irked by the fact that City Press had interviewed Masuku. It is disturbing to hear Senator Msibi say the newspaper got the comment from a member of a banned entity. If my memory serves me well, Msibi is the same man who used to toyi-toyi with Masuku while he was also a member of the Staff Union at the university.
To address Masuku as a member of a banned entity does not serve Senate because before Masuku is a member of PUDEMO, he is a Swazi citizen.
So being a member of a banned entity does not mean he has no right to speak about the ills in his country.
There are many areas in which Masuku has done wrong, and I blame him for it but that does not mean he cannot participate in any activity as a Swazi. He has a right to criticise government as a Swazi and has a right to be elected in his constituency as a Member of Parliament. That is if he wants to participate in an election. For the Prime Minister to stoop so low and say that he does not recognise Masuku as a person, is degrading to the position of Prime Minister.
Masuku like any other human being is made in the image of God, and for the Prime Minister to belittle himself by saying they do not recognise him as a person is an insult to the position of head of government in a Christian country.
Masuku has always told lies to the international media about Swaziland, in a drive to foster a multi-party system in the country, but that does not mean he is no longer human.
He has a wife and children. He has an extended family and relatives who were insulted by such an utterance from the PM. This just goes to show that our government does not respect us as citizens of this country and as taxpayers.
We are nonentities and second-class subjects in our own country. Government is less bothered about the increasing levels of poverty in the country.
The Prime Minister has said nothing about the recommendations made by the IMF to the FAR.
How and when will such recommendations be implemented to bolster the dying economy of this country?
I think it is high time His Majesty King Mswati III saved this country before this ship sinks with the entire country on board. In conclusion I am concerned because the Prime Minister issued threats in Senate and said propagandists would be dealt with.
He said people who spread negative reports about the country must be dealt with. He said, "We have a lot of them who write every Sunday in the newspaper and they are being paid for it. So we must decide as a government if we want such people in the country."
I am a Sunday newspaper columnist but am not being paid by anyone to write about my country.
The question I have is could he have been referring to the other Times SUNDAY columnists as well?
Well Mr Prime Minister, your threats are antagonising.
What you must remember is that the hole you dig today, you or your children may very well fall into it tomorrow.
You are blaming newspaper columnists for government’s blunders.
This is surprising, coming from someone who promised business unusual at the beginning of your term of office.
We are guided by the Constitution and we write our own opinions as this is a constitutional right in Swaziland.
Its a pity Calakaliboli, to you all who ever criticize the government is a fool except you. The kind of politician you are is very scary and you just sound the same kind of politicians we have always had in this country. You have some truth in your stuff but also have some worse foolish things to say. Your attitude towards other people who are fighting the rot in this country but differing to your opinion will make people not take you serious and infect at the moment me as a neutral person doesn't take you serious. Your words just sound sour like the insults we were discouraging from the progressives. I have thought you will be campaigning for unity first not encouraging this separation and divide, worse portraying yourself as a know all and the saviour of the nation..Some stuff you mentioned shows me your immaturity below the level of the progressive whom I also disregard .I prefer them because they have been consistant with what they want though lacking wisdom and good strategy. You Calakaliboli you have been all over the place in just the few months we have known you, you have said a lot to contradict yourself. I think its better what is done by the unions ,to call for the neighbor to come and help kill a snake than your suggestion we abandon our home to the neighbor's just because he has got a gun to kill the snake. Remember in your saying we should be South Africans by now, infact you no longer have a stand and right to be talking about the Swaziland you gave up to SA because of food. I think you are self pampered and you have exaggerated your wisdom. You have to first respect other people and stop bumbling and its too much. We will only fight and win this battle if we promote the spirit of oneness and trying to reach a common ground as Swazis. Otherwise we will have people whose only goal be is to prove how much wise they are at the expense of other Swazis while we remain in the same problems and those causing the country's downfall looking much better than those trying to point out the irregularities in the way we are governed. All I can say is, wake up Calakaliboli. Live alakhiwa ngumunftu munye and stop demonising every one but yourself, I just hate your strategy its disgusting and its an old style of politics which we don't need in today’s politics. MaSwati lamahle we are not divided we know our enemy is the government which won't take care of it own people and not that it can't afford but looking after its citizen its not its priority, they want to take all the country have for themselves and those whom they will decide to bring into their circle. We can stand together and fight this by marching to the King and ask him to relieve these people and give us the nation the power to choose our own Prime Minister and government. We can ask him not to be involved in politics but only when we have a problem as a nation we can approach him for his wisdom to give us advice. This is far from rendering our king useless but making him more popular and better than giving his powers to strangers like SA which is what Calakaliboli wants. Sounds not so patriotic as you may want people to believe you are Sir. These protests must be in every part of the country every where the King goes and lives, formal and respectful protest must be found. Bringing the poor and desperate to every protest for the King to realise the situation .In all this we remain one and make him see that we are ready to govern ourselves and its us Swazis prepared to go to jail or die for that stand. Not retaliating to the police and not making noise time for shouting is gone but sit down and make the police drag us to prison if it comes to that. We can even sit in offices, making no noise but intended to be heard and something must give.
Oct 24, 2010, 15:58 pm, Stones (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Sibusiso is polarizing the Swazi Nation. Swazis do not need these inflammatory statements coming from a man who has dismally failed to deliver services to the long suffering, downtrodden and marginalized masses.I t is high time that Swazis are taken seriously! The trust between the Swazi nation and Sibusiso has broken down. Not long ago Sibusiso labelled Masuku a terrorist and now he calls him a dead man.This is disrespectful and dishonesty from a man calling himself a prime minister.This is the reason I do not respect people but what they have upstairs!This is hate speech at its best. Where is the Human Rights Commission? Anyways those were appointed hence they have to tow the line. Mario Masuku is a Swazi citizen. Mario has rights enshrined in the Swazi Constitution signed by the king in 2005. Mario Masuku was recognized by the Denmark Parliament and Sibusiso was recognized by a conman! Mario Masuku is recognized internationally as an icon of our struggle. Sibusiso's government banned Masuku from local media and now when he uses international media again the old man is bitter! Sibusiso,Lutfo,Majozi,Moi Moi,Themba Masuku, Guduza, Themba msibi, Gelane Zwane and the entire Tinkhundla must go! Sibusiso must consider himself fortunate to lead such a docile nation! Mario never authored the problems we are in! Sibusiso must know that the police,army and correctional services support the government of the day! Anyways our leaders spend more time in Kuwait. Do we still have a country? Do we still have any sovereignity? Only time will tell!
Oct 24, 2010, 16:01 pm, velaphi dlamini (email@example.com)
Thanks qala for the informative article. You have touched many issues in this article. I want to comment on the piece of land which cost 31M. Vele kuyasimangalisa sisive semaswati kutsi imali lengaka ingabhadalwa having not fully supported by documentation from all parties more especially approval of parliament. All the parties are now blaming one another why? Kubo 31M ngumdlalo. Vele in the first place what is special about the Kuwait embassy that they will want a piece of land outside the capital city where we have a lot of ready office buildings for renting? Are these guys coming here to build a kingdom within a kingdom? I know that these days we have a soft spot for them, I wonder if this request was coming from other countries like the USA if government was going to agree to fork out the 31M. Vele kuyadlalwa lapha sekukhulunywa nge community labor kube kumoswe 31M.
Oct 24, 2010, 16:03 pm, anthony dlamini (firstname.lastname@example.org)
This is a well written article and for once in a long time i agree with you. At some point i thought you were being paid by the Swazi Government to write favourably about them or they just happened not to deposit your monthly check this month?
Oct 24, 2010, 16:04 pm, khehla