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MANZINI - Nhlambeni Member of Parliament (MP) Manzi Zwane is the first MP to be petitioned after over a year since government banned the delivery of petitions to constituency centres.

On June 24, 2021, government, through the Deputy Prime Minister (DPM), Themba Masuku, who was the Acting Prime Minister at that time, announced that it had suspended the delivery of petitions to tinkhundla centres, with immediate effect. Masuku said: “It has become apparent that this exercise has created breeding ground for anarchy and has been intentionally hijacked to sow seeds of division among emaSwati in complete disregard of public safety, rule of law and COVID-19 regulations.”


A move to deliver a petition to Siphofaneni Inkhundla after the ban (on June 26, 2021), resulted in violence, as protesters clashed with law enforcers which resulted in shops as well as vehicles being burnt. The violence spread across the country and led to the June/July political unrest, where protests were staged countrywide. There was looting and vandalism of private and public properties, some of which were torched. According to Government Spokesperson Alpheous Nxumalo, the ban still stands as the administration has not opened petition deliveries yet. However, he said MPs continued to interact with their respective communities. He said under the Tinkhundla System of Government, MPs were encouraged to stay in contact with their respective communities.  

However, yesterday, a handful of people under Nhlambeni Inkhundla, met with their MP at Mkhiweni, KaShali and delivered the petition, which they said was long overdue as they were supposed to deliver it last year, but government banned the exercise. In their petition, the people of Nhlambeni raised their grievances to the MP, which mainly affected their lives. They said some of these grievances were in line with the promises which the MP made when he was still campaigning to be voted into Parliament. They said as poor people, they met and agreed to see him so that they could remind him that they had not seen him doing anything for them, even in Parliament, yet during his campaign he said he would represent and speak for them after consulting with them on their needs. They alleged that the MP also promised to make their lives better.

“So, we are reminding you that you still have to do that as your colleagues are doing in Parliament,” they said in the petition.  One of their grievances was that government should subsidise the prices of food and fuel. They said government should upgrade Nhlambeni Clinic into a health facility that would have all medical supplies and accommodate a lot of people.
“Government should introduce a basic income grant for unemployed youth, people with disabilities and elderly of E3 500 per month,” reads part of the petition. On top of that, they demanded that as MPs, they should protest for the release of the MPs who were in prison. They said this was because the incarcerated MPs (Hosea MP Mduduzi Bacede Mabuza and Ngwempisi MP Mthandeni Dube), represented and respected them as a nation. They also demanded that MPs fight for exiled former Siphofaneni MP Mduduzi ‘Gawuzela’ Simelane, so that he could return to the country and lead them. They also demanded that KaShali Sports Ground should be returned to the community because they no longer had a place to exercise. Another demand was that government should hold an all-inclusive political dialogue.

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