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MANZINI – The Multi-Stakeholder Forum (MSF) says the dialogue which His Majesty King Mswati III referred to during Sibaya on Tuesday is not the political national dialogue they were hoping for.

Secretary General of MSF Sikelela Dlamini said the King’s remarks on Tuesday were in line with the Constitution of the Kingdom of Eswatini. He said, in his understanding, the King said emaSwati shall gather at the cattle byre after the elections to ‘caucus’ (kubhunga). He said the dialogue was said by the interpreter and the media. Dlamini explained that the national dialogue sought by MSF was different as it had many components. It is worth noting that according the Constitution of the Kingdom of Eswatini, Act 1 of 2005; Sibaya means the nation meeting, as the Swazi National Council at the Ndlovukazi’s official residence for the purpose of deliberating or deciding on important national matters. Section 232, subsection 3 states that Sibaya functions as the annual general meeting of the nation. but may be convened at anytime to present the views of the nation on pressing and controversial national issues.


Meanwhile, Dlamini said they were calling for and seeking an all inclusive, well organised, structured and genuine dialogue. Dlamini said they were seeking that the national dialogue they were hoping and calling for would have an external mediator, be held at a neutral venue and have all sectors of society represented. The MSF said they were calling for an all-inclusive externally mediated political dialogue/negotiation process; the total and unconditional unbanning of all political parties; creation of an interim government, while the negotiation process is under way, the crafting and adoption of a new democratic Constitution. Also, he said they were seeking the introduction of a multiparty dispensation, founded on the rule of law.
This presupposes that there would be a meeting between all the parties on the political impasse. “If such a meeting were to take place as we envisage and propose it in what we call ‘talks about talks’, the parties would agree on the creation of a conducive climate and setting up of a table for a proper and genuine dialogue,” said Dlamini.

Leading to this, he said the MSF sought that there should be the ‘talks about talks’, which would lead to all political prisoners such as Mduduzi Bacede Mabuza and Mthandeni Dube being unconditionally released. Also, he said it would lead to all charges against members of the pro-democracy forces unconditionally dropped; all political exiles including Mduduzi ‘Gawuzela’ Simelane are safely allowed to return home unconditionally and that all charges are withdrawn. Dlamini said this had to also lead to the parties discussing and agreeing on the rules of engagement (terms of reference) of the process, including the time frame of the process and lastly the creation of a political environment that was friendly for the people to participate and engage with the process without impediments, such as the rights of the people to peaceful assembly and association, freedom of expression and freedom of speech.

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