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MBABANE – Voters have spoken in the best way they can - through the ballot box.

So loud was the voters’ power of the ballot box it claimed the scalp of one of the country’s longest-serving legislators, Gundwane Gamedze. He was looking for a fifth consecutive five-year term as Siphofaneni MP, but bit the dust to famous gospel artist Mduduzi ‘Magawugawu’ Simelane. The only person who has served an equal number of terms as Gamedze is Lobamba Lomdzala MP Marwick Khumalo and two of these five-year terms he served as Lobamba MP before crossing to the other constituency.

The voters’ clout also sent into abyss two former Cabinet ministers in the likes of Owen Nxumalo and Phiwayinkhosi Mabuza, who headed the Public Service  and Housing and Urban Development portfolios, respectively. Nxumalo was looking to retain his position as Manzini South MP, while Mabuza was vying for re-election as Mhlambanyatsi MP. Both Nxumalo and Mabuza were involved in controversies in the portfolios they led; the former accused of blocking a probe into the operations of the Public Service Pension Fund (PSPF) and misleading the nation about the availability of money to award civil servants a salary increment, while the latter was accused of protecting, as well as offering a new contract to Mbabane Municipal Council CEO Gideon Mhlongo, who is wanted out of office. Mabuza is the only member of the last team of Cabinet ministers to publicly advocate for the legalisation of marijuana, much against the collective decision of his colleagues.

The ousting of Nxumalo and Mabuza means that there are only three members of the last team of Cabinet ministers who stand a chance of being reappointed. These are Jabulani ‘Buy Cash’ Mabuza (ex-minister of Commerce Industry and Trade), Moses Vilakati (ex-minister of Agriculture) and David ‘Cruiser’ Ngcamphalala (Ex-minister of Sports, Culture and Youth Affairs). The voters have chosen to throw Nxumalo and Mabuza (Phiwayinkhosi) into political obscurity for the next five years, and that is if they will consider making a comeback in 2023. Interestingly, their predecessors have been brought back to replace them and these are Petros Mavimbela, who retains the Mhlambanyatsi MP position he held for two consecutive terms until he was ousted in 2013.

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