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MANZINI – Lobamba Lomdzala Constituency Member of Parliament (MP) Marwick Khumalo has eventually left the country to attend a political dialogue-oriented programme in the United States of America (USA).

The legislator undertook the trip following a rigmarole involving issuance of a press statement by the Government Spokesperson, Alpheous Nxumalo, which was subsequent to him, having to return from the O.R. Tambo International Airport after receiving communication from the Clerk to Parliament, Benedict Xaba, advising him to do so. Initially, MP Khumalo was set to travel on Saturday with Senator Mkhululi Dlamini, Hhohho Regional Administrator (RA) Princess Tsandzile and the Elections and Boundaries Commission’s (EBC) Lungile Magagula.
The quartet was all informed on Saturday by the clerk to Parliament, which was the day of departure, that they were not permitted to travel. It was reported that the trip was part of the US government’s International Visitor Leadership Programme (IVLP) and was designed specifically to support a productive and positive national dialogue.

In a press statement by MP Khumalo yesterday, he said after giving due consideration to the government’s assertion suggesting that he was hallucinating that there was a royal command against a trip of respectable fellow citizens fully sponsored by the US Embassy, and added to that, it stated that he was prevented from travelling because of pending court cases; he had, therefore, resolved to use his valid air ticket and restarted the journey to the USA. The legislator reported that he had arrived safely yesterday morning to a gracious reception. MP Khumalo said throughout his political career, he had weathered multiple storms for him to be chastised or rather become a playground for clumsy civil servants, who had become too big for their boots and had no understanding of their responsibilities, save to appease their masters at his expense.

“No man has a right to pull me down,” he said.

MP Khumalo said as he had stated in his interview with the Times SUNDAY Assistant Editor, Welcome Dlamini, and against the belief of many, he still had some degree of respect for authority, like in this case. “I sincerely believed that it was a genuine command by HMK (His Majesty King Mswati III) and expected to get the reasons in due course, until I was told otherwise and in the process unduly insulted. I also respect the views of the many fellow emaSwati who reached out to me and registered their unhappiness as to why I disembarked from the plane. Unfortunately, my late father instilled in me a lot, in terms of respect for others, not just authority, but that respect is not without revocation if it’s not reciprocated,” MP Khumalo said.

The legislator said having served at the highest level of many international parliamentary forums in his career, he had never seized the opportunity to scandalise Eswatini despite its iniquities and shortcomings in the area of good governance. MP Khumalo said he had always believed that as an MP, he had a forum back home to discuss these issues, difficult as it was currently. The legislator said he was not in the USA representing the House of Assembly; at least, that’s not how the invitation came to him.

He said had it been so, a letter would have been directed to the Speaker, Petros Mavimbela, requesting him to nominate an MP. The legislator said he had since informed the Speaker about his absence as it was procedural.
MP Khumalo concluded his statement by rhetorically asking why it should be an issue when he was invited by international partners that had diplomatic links with the country, whereas the airspace had become ministers and preferred parliamentarians second home, courtesy of the tax-paying citizens.

The legislator said as he was reading the Bible in the airplane, his eyes fell on Galatians Chapter 4 verse 16 which reads: “Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?” Meanwhile, Clerk to Parliament Benedict Xaba said: “As Parliament we are not aware that any of the MPs has travelled. I have received a call just now from people informing me that one MP has travelled. There is nothing I can say at this stage to be honest.”

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