LIARS WILL COST SD AGOA BENEFITS - PM
LOBAMBA – Prime Minister Sibusiso Barnabas Dlamini has said if the country lost its AGOA benefits it would be entirely its own doing because of Swazis who lied about the country.
AGOA is the African Growth Opportunity Act.
Dlamini, who was speaking during the portfolio committee debate of his office in the House of Assembly yesterday, said it was Swazis who wrote letters with false information about the country to Washington, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and other stakeholders.
“These Swazis report false matters stating that there was no freedom of assembly among other freedoms,” said Dlamini.
The PM was responding to concerns raised by appointed MP Princess Ncengencenge and Manzini North MP Jan Sithole who suggested that an independent body should be quickly roped in to ensure that the country did not lose out on AGOA.
The PM said these individuals inform the international bodies that Swazis were not allowed to talk freely.
“There is freedom of assembly and speech in the country, but with all freedoms there are limits,” he said.
He said even in America, in particular 1st street people, were not allowed to assemble as they pleased.
“If we keep sending wrong information to the USA then I can safely say it is Swazis themselves who lost us AGOA,” Dlamini said.
“Let us tell ILO, Washington or London the truth,” he continued. He said ‘indlela ibovu’ for Swazis.
“Let us blame ourselves if Swazis lose AGOA and not the US or ILO,” he said.
He said no matter what government did if Swazis continued to lie then a lot would be lost.
He said the laws which needed ammending would be passed by MPs.
“There is freedom of speech in Parliament and we should not vote just because another country or person has forced us to do so and this is what will get us to 2022,” Dlamini said.
“We will do all we can not to lose AGOA, but woe unto those who continue to lie about Swaziland,” he said.
Sithole had said an interim committee should be arranged with the Ministry of Labour and Social Security portfolio committee, Attorney General’s Office and Prime Minister’s Office to work on the current situation.
He asked that laws on the Bill of Rights which allow for freedom of association be created.
Princess Ncengencenge said there should be an independant secretariat to work on AGOA issues.
Police need new suspect identification process - Jan
LOBAMBA – Manzini North MP Jan Sithole has said police needed to have a new suspect identification process.
He said the current lineup where a witness identified his assailant in person was dangerous because the suspect or convict could come back and take revenge.
Sithole, however, thanked the professional treatment he had received from police when his family was robbed.
On another note the MPs said government needed to speed up the allocation of houses to police officers because the current set-up where they shared houses was unworkable. Mbabane West MP Johane Shongwe caused laughter when he said he was one of the neatest police officers to have ever served.
“Even my wife, when I was still officer number 1078, was taught by me on looking and keeping tidy,”Shongwe said.
He said the current state of some police flats was unacceptable.
Shongwe also asked the PM to provide a list of persons who could not be arrested by the government Anti Abuse Unit.
The MPs asked when the Police Bill would be tabled in Parliament including the Crime Prevention Bill which could lead to community police being paid. They further submitted that some young police officers were rude and consumed alcohol irresponsibly. The MPs were divided on the issue of drink-driving with some stating that those convicted should get stiff sentences while others said police should drive suspects home.
On another note, the MPs asked the office of the Press Secretary to take initiative and not always respond once damage had been done. The PM is expected to submit written responses tomorrow.
When will four women MPS be elected?
LOBAMBA – Manzini North MP Jan Sithole has asked the PM when the four women who are supposed to be elected into Parliament according to the Constitution would be chosen.
Sithole said constitutionally the number of women representation in Parliament should be 30 per cent, but stated that at present there was only 17 per cent representation of females was represented in both the House of Assembly and Senate.
“We should as soon as possible apply both Sections 95 and 86 of the Constituion where four women from each of the country’s regions are to be chosen,” said Sithole.
He said not complying with the Constitution could result in future laws passed by the current MPs being challenged.
In response the PM Sibusiso Barnabas Dlamini said a Bill or Regulations on how the women would be elected would have to be drafted.
“You will recall when the House elected senators how filled to the brim the chamber was and I believe this would be the same scenario,” the PM said.
He said just like the Senate Elections Act was made, something similar needed to be drafted and they would do that soon so that no one complained.
“Senators were elected through a very complicated system but no one seemed to complain and we want that to be the same scenario when the women are finally chosen,” Dlamini said.