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MBABANE – Despite the environment on the ground suggesting calmness, government says there are no immediate preparations in respect to the national dialogue.

This was stated by Government Spokesperson Alpheous Nxumalo, in an interview yesterday. Nxumalo had been asked if there were any preparations being made in respect of the national dialogue, having observed that there was some calmness in the country. This also emanates from the fact that government has been adamant that the dialogue would not be held until the political climate became conducive. This was in reference to violence that had engulfed the country, where business establishments were burnt and there were unprecedented killings of state security personnel and civilians. In his response, Nxumalo said there were no immediate preparations to host the dialogue, except for the budgetary provision as presented by the Minister of Finance Neal Rijkenberg, when delivering his budget speech in Parliament in February.


Rijkenberg announced that E30 million had been set aside for the national dialogue. Government had been all along, through press conferences and Parliament sessions, stating that the environment was not conducive for the national dialogue. It was cited that the acts of violence were hindering the convening of the dialogue. “You have rightly and correctly observed that the environment on the ground does seem to suggest some calmness,” said Nxumalo. He stated that government remained committed to the national dialogue, a dialogue that would not have an opportunity to put other people’s lives at risk and in predicaments. Nxumalo said the nation for now was focused on the national general elections, which were already underway. “Having said this, government notes with great pleasure the obvious peace and tranquillity that prevails in the country,” said the government spokesperson.

He further mentioned that no decision had been taken by government as to when the national dialogue would take place. When asked about the calls from some members of the public, that there should be the dialogue first then elections, he said to stipulate would be counterproductive and misleading. He said elections, meanwhile, had been officially announced, hence his assertion that the nation was preoccupied with this particular national exercise for now. “If any decision is taken to convene a national dialogue, a proper announcement and communication will be made,” said Nxumalo.

Meanwhile, during a previous article, Mhlangatane Member of Parliament (MP) Madala Mhlanga observed that there was calm such that emaSwati were able to even sleep peacefully at night. He further appreciated members of the Royal Eswatini Police Service (REPS) for their tireless efforts in providing security to the nation, despite the attacks against them. On the other hand, Nkilongo MP Timothy Myeni asked Prime Minister Cleopas Sipho Dlamini what was stopping government from convening the dialogue as it was able to commence the processes for the national elections.


Meanwhile, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the US Bureau of African Affairs, Robert Scott recently said, as America, they were ready to support Eswatini in conducting the dialogue.
When addressing the media at a press briefing on March 7, Scott said elections and dialogue did not replace each other. He said the upcoming elections provided the opportunity for all emaSwati to engage directly in the country’s governance, a process which they (US) supported. Scott also addressed the media virtually last week Thursday, where he highlighted that judging from his engagements with different stakeholders in the country, he noted that there was a political will to have the dialogue; it was just a matter of setting up the date.

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