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LOBAMBA – For the second consecutive year, Siphofaneni Member of Parliament (MP) Nomalungelo LaZwide Simelane missed the customary Members of Parliament (MPs) photoshoot with Their Majesties yesterday during the 12th Parliament Official Opening.

She was conspicuously missing when members of parliament lined up to observe the group picture with both His Majesty King Mswati III and Her Majesty the Indlovukazi outside the parliament chambers. This was before the start of the gala dinner .

The well-known gospel singer was the last legislator to arrive for the event, and left immediately after the King’s speech, which lasted for close to two hours. Her absence during the photoshoot was noted by a number of people.

During the same event last year, which was only attended by His Majesty the King, the Siphofaneni legislator did not attend the event under unclear reasons. LaZwide is the wife of exiled former Siphofaneni MP Mduduzi ‘Gawzela’ Simelane , who was disqualified as MP for missing 20 consecutive sittings. Her husband is in exile.

Yesterday, wearing a kanga (lihiya) that was visibly different from her other colleagues in parliament, LaZwide spent less than an hour in the parliament premises before leaving. Her departure came amid unconfirmed reports that she had also allegedly lost her cellphone.


However, Deputy Police Information and Communications Officer Assistant Superintendent Nosipho Mnguni told the Eswatini News that there was no case of cellphone theft reported by the Siphofaneni legislator with the Lobamba Police Station.

While admitting that the Parliament Standing Orders were not compelling legislators to take part in the photoshoot with Their Majesties, Clerk to Parliament Benedict Xaba said this was done out of respect for the culture, especially when the head of State is in attendance.

“Nothing was reported by the Speaker (Jabulani Mabuza) on the issue of the legislator you are asking me about. Attending or taking group picture with their Their Majesties is not forced on the MPs, it is a matter of choice. “That being said though, it is a sign of respect when MPs take a group picture with Their Majesties and we always encourage them to always heed that. Just recently, the King hosted a dinner for the MPs, which was the first-of-its-kind and showed how much he loves the MPs,” Xaba said.

The former Minister of Health made an example of Minister of Tourism Jane Mkhonta who was due to travel outside the country for a national assignment but was advised against taking the trip in respect of the 12th Parliament opening.

“The minister reported that she was due to attend a national assignment outside the country, but she was advised to delay the trip so that she could attend the parliament opening. That is why she was present during the event and the arrangement now is that she will depart tomorrow (today) morning. That was an act of respect from her, which we appreciate as Parliament,” Xaba said.

Notably is that in last year’s event, LaZwide was not the only MP to miss the parliament opening but two others were also missing and these were former Nkilongo MP Timothy Myeni along with former Manzini North MP Macford Sibandze. Efforts were made to get a comment from LaZwide, but she was not reachable at the time of compiling this report yesterday evening.       

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