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LOBAMBA – Is the King’s Birthday celebration going to take place?  Are the Easter services going to be held?
Should parents continue to send children to school?

The above three, are just part of the litany of questions which were asked of the prime minister as MPs blasted Cabinet for what they termed its deafening silence in light of the declared world pandemic, the coronavirus, which is also known as COVID-19.
This happened yesterday afternoon in the House of Assembly after Lobamba Lomdzala MP Marwick Khumalo moved a Motion of Privilege where he called on the Executive to come out clear on what direction the country was taking given the spread of the virus.

In his submission, Khumalo said Eswatini was surrounded by many countries in the region, particularly South Africa, which had already stated its position on the way forward.
“For example, they have closed borders. I am not saying if they were wrong or right, but they are doing something,” said Khumalo.


He said government could not remain silent and pretend as if nothing was happening, particularly with many events being postponed or cancelled.
“Soon Good Friday will be upon us and we have Christians who travel in and out of the country, we can’t be quiet about this,” said Khumalo.

He continued: “What is government saying about the King’s Birthday, Easter services, church services and funerals etcetera.”
He said as MPs and government, no one could afford to sit back and be quiet especially since this was a matter of life and death.
Khumalo said government had to come out and state its position and whether it was perceived as right or wrong it had to be known.
He said emaSwati were worried, particularly about schools too.

The veteran MP stated that last Sunday he was in church and one of the church members started blasting that the country had no Parliament in light of the silence on this matter.
He said many people were worried and instead, emaSwati were now even quoting South African President Cyril Ramaphosa instead of the PM.

“The PM needs to act as the country is looking to him, but sibindzile (we are quiet) when this thing has struck home,” said Khumalo.
He wondered how many people had made contact with the infected person. He reiterated that the country was very worried.


In response, the PM said the entire country was concerned about the situation and said the Health minister had given updates. He said it was true that neighbouring countries and Africa as a whole had been monitoring the situation and making preparedness plans.

“On Friday night, we got reports that a liSwati had tested positive, which was the first case and over the weekend, we met as Cabinet,” said Dlamini. He said it would not take government long to make a statement, adding that they were busy consulting. He said soon, government would make the statements and asked for patience from the MPs. In vernacular he said ‘Indlu ayisibeketelele”.

He said during the next House sitting, which is expected to take place tomorrow, the full position of government would be made known as he would provide a comprehensive report.
The other questions asked were if government would suspend events where there were DJs, particularly in night clubs, as a lot of weird things happened there.  

Meanwhile, Mp Khumalo said tourists had also come in their numbers to support the Marula Ceremony last month and it was fortunate that at that time the coronavirus was not that prevalent in their countries.

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