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Govt concerned over SA interference

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MBABANE – Diplomacy aside, government is concerned that it appears that neighbouring giant, South Africa, wants to dictate how Swaziland should operate politically and otherwise.


This stems from criticism that was directed at the Swazi Parliament by South African parliamentarians in May this year.
They claimed that Parliament had no power and also that the national Constitution ‘meant nothing’. They linked Swazi political problems to the current Constitution, which they believed banned political parties and was thus anti-democratic. This was reported in the Times SUNDAY edition of this newspaper this week.


Government has found the assertion to be unpalatable.
Percy Simelane, Government Press Secretary said the kingdom welcomed advice from the neighbouring state, but if that advice had elements of derisiveness, it made it difficult to accept or accord it importance.


“Just because we are a small nation on the international stage we find ourselves being bullied and hassled. It’s not the first time though, that this neighbour of ours wants Swazis to live in a certain way politically and otherwise in life. If they have an opinion or advice, there are ways to express it to another country as recognised by the United Nations,” said Simelane on state radio yesterday.


Simelane mentioned that the Constitution came into being with input from Swazis, the Commonwealth and International Bar Association. It was also reviewed and endorsed by top judges from Uganda, Mauritius and South Africa.
His Majesty King Mswati III even called the nation to review the Constitution before he himself endorsed it. That said, the Press Secretary articulated that following the latest talk from officials of that country, Swaziland will stop entertaining them and their advice.


“They are not showing that they know the kingdom, instead, they seem bent on throwing whatever judgement they have on us. I don’t know where they get it from that just because we are a small nation our minds are small too. The things they have said about Swaziland lack truth,” said Simelane.
Meanwhile, South Africa’s High Commission office said it will respond in writing when forwarded a questionnaire.

 

SA must do homework - Percy

MBABANE – “South African politicians do not do their homework.”


This was the view of Government Press Secretary Percy Simelane, who said this was evidenced by their poor knowledge of the country’s issues.
For instance, their knowledge that the 2005 Constitution outlawed parties was distorted. He said it was well known that in fact, it was the 1973 Decree that did that, and parties usually protested against that. “They don’t do their homework!


“They are off the mark. Any country that wants to advise Swaziland must follow United Nations rules. They shouldn’t just throw words at us as it is synonymous with disrespect. It will be hard to pay attention to them,” said Simelane. He said the politicians had no idea on certain matters as far as the kingdom was concerned, which he said was why they were wrong on the Constitution.

He said Swazis prefered that people who contested in national elections did so as individuals representing their constituencies, not party representatives.
He also highlighted that the Constitution did not ban political parties.

 

‘Just because they’re better in soccer means nothing’

MBABANE – Government Press Secretary Percy Simelane said just because South Africa was better in soccer compared to Swaziland, it did not mean they can now control the country.


“Swaziland has its own leaders, and they have to be approached with respect if they must be talked to. I wouldn’t be sure on how their Parliament operates, in that they can call a country or person by name. What our MPs do (not mentioning names in Parliament) is a way of respect,” he said.
He mentioned that South Africa was young in politics compared to Swaziland, and therefore the onus was on the kingdom to show them the way. Furthermore he emphasised that the future of Swaziland was in the hands of Swazis, not neigh-bouring countries.

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