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EX-MINISTER SHONGWE NOT IN EXILE, VOTES

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MAHLANYA – Is he in exile?

Certainly not! Rather, is he back from exile? These questions were posed to Sibusiso Shongwe, the former Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, after he had cast votes for his favourite candidates at Mahlanya under Lobamba Lomdzala. Shongwe, the current member of the Teaching Service Commission (TSC), urged this newspaper to report on what it was observing at Mahlanya Primary School which served as one of the polling stations for Lobamba Lomdzala.

Doubling as a pastor, the Mbabane-based attorney said he preached his encounter with Jesus Christ. “I preach what I have seen Jesus do in my life. Likewise, you are also at liberty to report on what you have seen,” he said. One of the online publications reported that the ex-minister was in exile. Eswatini News cannot repeat the reasons for the alleged exile as reported by the online publication. He was accompanied by his wife, at around 3:30pm, when he voted for his choice of candidates, who were bucopho (constituency councillor), indvuna yenkhundla and member of Parliament (MP). There was no security accorded to him to demonstrate that his life was in danger, as previously reported. At the time of compiling this report, the constituents were still casting their votes, not only at Lobamba Lomdzala but throughout the country.

Bestowed

Shongwe thanked God for the peace He has bestowed upon Eswatini, adding that he observed an election that was not marred by violence and intimidation. The TSC member mentioned that he saw people, in a peaceful environment, setting up their own government through the ballot box. He echoed the remarks made by His Majesty during the recent United Nations General Assembly that the kingdom has a home grown system of democracy.

The former minister pointed out that there was no political system better than the one which allowed all eligible voters to set up their own candidates.
“There’s nothing that surpasses peace,” he said. Shongwe said the country’s political system was different from others, as it allowed people to embrace candidates voted into office by a certain clique or some electoral college.

Secret

“In Eswatini, people, through secret ballot, are welcome to vote for their leaders. “As long as you are eligible to vote, you can either elect a woman, young person, person with disability or an elderly person,” he said. He urged other countries to take a leaf from the kingdom of Eswatini, by adopting its political system – the Tinkhundla System of Government. In the MP category, contesting candidates under Lobamba Lomdzala were Marwick Khumalo, who was vying for a sixth consecutive term, Mpendulo ‘Nyakanyaka’ Ndaba, Lucelwa Dlamini and Stanford Makhubu. Those who were contesting the position of indvuna yenkhundla were Nhlanhla Busika, Sihle Dlamini, Sithembiso Mavuso and Luke Shiba.

Competing

Under Mahlanya umphakatsi, there were 17 candidates competing for the position of bucopho – Sabelo Thwala, Zwelakhe Simelane, Mzwakalise Nkambule, Sizwe Mndzebele, Chazile Mkhize, Mispah Phindile Mdluli-Fakudze, Nduna Mdluli, Mlungisi Mdlovu, Vusi Mavuso, Celani Masilela, Mfanzile Malaza, Nhlanhla Mabuza, Khanyakwezwe Hlatshwako, Thamsanqa Ginindza, a soccer referee in the Premier League of Eswatini, Sotja Dlamini, Sanelisiwe Dlamini and Madoda Bhembe.

There were eight who competed for bucopho at Luyengo and seven at Ekufinyeni, with Engwanyameni having six. In another development, Marwick Khumalo said his law for success has been to serve the people. He said he always put the country first whenever he executed his duties for MP.
Khumalo was not happy that elections agents did not have tags this time around. Otherwise, he said he was looking forward to a free and fair election.

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