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SITEKI – The feud among some political parties regarding their participation in the ongoing 2023 General Elections took a twist on Friday when members of three political entities walked out of the Multi-Stakeholder Forum (MSF) General Assembly held at Esibayeni Lodge.

This happened after there were disagreements on some of the key issues that were discussed during the meeting. According to Swaziland Liberation Movement (SWALIMO) Spokesperson Thantaza Silolo, there were threats allegedly issued by members of the People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO) that political organisations that were participating in the 2023 General Elections would be given ‘divorce papers’ after the conference. The Times SUNDAY reported that PUDEMO had stated that disciplinary processes would be taken against members who were found to have participated in the ongoing general elections. Silolo said as an organisation, in solidarity with the two others, namely; Inhlava and Swaziland Democratic Party (SWADEPA), they resolved to walk out of the meeting and left behind members of PUDEMO in that meeting. The spokesperson said the threats were dire and they opted not to be bullied, hence their decision of walking out of the meeting and further terminating their membership with MSF.

He added that his organisation had not intended to terminate its membership with MSF, but there were compelling circumstances, such as the threats that made SWALIMO and other political entities resolve to walk out and to take part in the ongoing general elections. “I was part of the conference alongside two other delegates from the movement. There were threats that organisations that were participating in the elections would be given ‘divorce papers’ after the meeting. We saw those threats as dire and opted not to be bullied but just leave. We literally walked out, leaving mainly PUDEMO members alone in the meeting. It is no secret that SWALIMO supports the participation in the elections, hence we will not accept bullying by any organisation that claims to boycott them yet some of its members are participating also,” he said. Inhlava Vice Chairman Sifundvo Bulunga said they walked out of the meeting after disagreeing on the issue of their stance on participating in the elections. Bulunga said they were also not happy in the manner in which the MSF purportedly appeared to be belonging to one party.


“We opted to walk out as we didn’t agree on a number of things that we talked about during the meeting like the issue of participating in the elections. We had differences, hence we resolved that we should walk out of the meeting as it appeared our views were not considered,” he said. SWADEPA President Barnes Dlamini could not be reached for comment at the time of compiling this report, as he did not answer his mobile phone after several attempts were made. However, PUDEMO Secretary General (SG) Penuel Malinga asked that a comment be sourced from the MSF as he was not aware of the developments that took place during the conference. MSF SG Sikelela Dlamini said members of three organisations namely; SWALIMO, SWADEPA and Inhlava walked out of the meeting after a fierce debate ensued around participation in the elections.

Dlamini said according to eBundu Resolution, organisations collectively resolved that they would boycott the elections as a result; they were served with letters pointing out to them that they were violating the resolution as a collective and the constitutional clause of the organisation that they voluntarily joined. “I think they felt they needed some time to deal with such realities in their constituencies. And what is bad is how they conducted themselves by walking out of the meeting. Doing so to someone is a very strong statement of disapproval of his or her way of doing things. This is what they did,” he said.

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