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LOBAMBA – The swearing- in ceremony of the newly-appointed Prime Minister, Cleopas Sipho Dlamini, was delayed by over 30 minutes as the constitutionality of his appointment was challenged by Hosea MP Mduduzi Bacede Mabuza yesterday.

The swearing-in was expected to start at around 2:45pm after the House of Assembly had deliberated on a few housekeeping issues. However, after the Speaker, Petros Mavimbela, had read Legal Notice No.207 of 2021, the gazette appointing Dlamini as a member of the House of Assembly and asked that he be ushered into the chamber, MP Mabuza was quick on his feet on a point of order. The MP said he wanted the Speaker to clarify to all emaSwati a few issues. He said what they got about Dlamini was that he was appointed as PM on Friday during Sibaya.


He said Sibaya was constitutional, but said Section 67 (1) of the Constitution stated that the King shall appoint the  prime minister from among members of the House acting on the recommendation of the King’s Advisory Council. “However, when I read your Order Paper today, it states that there is the swearing-in of a member today, Cleopas Dlamini to be an MP,” said Mabuza. He asked the Speaker if he was using the Thursday July 15, 2021 as the date written in the gazette that appointed an MP, he wondered where Dlamini had taken his oath. “This is because the Constitution I am reading says the person can only be appointed PM on condition that he was an MP,” said Mabuza. The MP further said according to the law, Dlamini had been appointed by the King into Senate in 2018 and wanted proof that by Thursday, Dlamini was no longer a senator. He said he wanted documented proof allowed by the Constitution appointing him PM. “If that document is available or not, if it is the King who fetched him from the other chamber to this one, show us the constitutional powers which the King has to withdraw someone from Senate,” submitted Mabuza.

He said he wanted all those things so that emaSwati would be content that Dlamini was constitutionally appointed. He highlighted that they were not against Cleopas being appointed but they were against the breaching of the Constitution. He said before Dlamini was sworn in, it must be clear that the Constitution was followed to the letter. In response, the Speaker gave the floor to the Attorney General (AG) Sifiso Khumalo to address the matter. Khumalo said the PM was appointed in terms of Section 67 (1) which had been cited numerous times in the House. “The King appointed Cleopas Sipho Dlamini to be a member of this House on Thursday July 15, 2021, as per the instrument you read Mr Speaker correctly pointed it out,” said Khumalo. The AG said on July 16, the King called Sibaya and appointed Dlamini as PM.


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