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We pay for the licence not because of a misplaced belief that Swazi TV is really a public broadcaster but because with the licence we will be able to watch other programmes in other TV stations that are meaningful to us and news that is not as slanted as we suffer from Swazi TV.

I watch South African programmes such as The Big Debate, where they discuss topical issues such as the brutality against women and the effects of patriarchy and criticising their president for his appointment of their current minister of Women Affairs and a host of other relevant issues.

On Swazi TV we cannot even put across our views about the long-delayed SODV Bill that has been forever in the making. Two weeks back they were debating the political scenario in their country, never mind that their elections are in 15 months’ time.

We see in our neighbour’s TV programmes that opposition parties are very vocal on issues at table. In ‘our’ country’s TV you cannot even have a political party making a statement even with regard to the impending elections or concerns of the people.

In our case, there are no such enlightening debates as if to suggest that as Swazis we have nothing to say. There will be elections in the country in a few months’ time, but we cannot have anything on TV debating the issues, let alone the system.

We cannot even talk about the bucket loads of Emalangeni planned for the outgoing parliamentarians and a whopping, now reduced to E3 million, amount of money put aside for the PM’s ‘thank you’ residence, with negligible if not the zero increase for the elderly grants, unless parliamentarians surprise us. This is not to overlook the little that parliamentarians have done on the VAT on electricity.

Now we read that despite that we still have the ‘SADC cars’ rotting, there is a plan to spend E89 million on cars for another festivity.
As it happens with regularity every time there is another celebration (which benefits whom really) while increasing a whole range of taxes; as if government is showing us that those in power will budget and spend as they please and we, loluntfu might as well go an jump in the lake.

Keeping people in a cocoon is not helpful for the country; people need to breathe and talk about issues that are of concern to them even in the ‘public electronic media’ that is supposedly theirs.

Vincent V Ncongwane

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