LOBAMBA: Parliament motions and submissions made by the late President of the Swaziland Democratic Party(SWADEPA) highly critical of the current government are ‘secretly’ kept in the hansard after being sabotaged by the State controlled media.
A hansard is an official record of all debates and speeches made in Parliament, this include reports on decisions and or resolutions taken by the House including Notice of motions among others.
An independent investigation by this Swaziland News uncovered that on or around the 24th July 2017, Jan Sithole, the then Manzini North Member of Parliament(MP) lobbied other progressive MPs to oust the Tinkhundla system of governance and introduce multi-party democracy where a Prime Minister would be elected directly by the people.
The critical information in our possession suggests that this was to be done through a vote of no confidence on Cabinet on the basis that the government had failed to provide services to the people that include the maintenance of roads, social grants and sustainable jobs ,among others. It has been disclosed that on or around the 26th July 2017, subsequent to the vigorous lobbying by Jan Sithole, Matsanjeni North MP Phila Buthelezi now Deputy Speaker in the House of Assembly openly challenged the Tinkhundla system within the House of Assembly calling upon a democratic process where the Prime Minister would be elected by the people.
However, the Times of Swaziland sabotaged the critical information kept in Parliament suggesting that it was a group of powerful MPs lobbied by Sithole who challenged the system, twisted and portrayed it as a mere 'political fight' between Buthelezi and the late Prime Minister Sibusiso Barnabas Dlamini.
Evidence in our possession further suggests that even though the move to oust the Tinkhundla system was sabotaged by the State controlled media, the 'strong' words contained in a statement dated 27th July 2017 by the late Prime Minister Barnabas Dlamini who was acting on intelligence information reflected tension within the corridors of power, the then PM through the help of the media strategically opted to personalise Buthelezi's Parliament submissions, accusing him of shaking the pillars that established the Nation.
As a result, MP Buthelezi was intimidated behind the scenes and forced to apologise to their Majesties, an apology that was then widely reported by the media.
Reached for comments, Saladin Magagula, the then Hhukwini Member of Parliament(MP) who was among the powerful group of MPs who collaborated with the late Jan Sithole in shaking the system, confirmed that critical issues raised in the House were sabotaged by the government with the assistance of the State controlled media.
"One of the critical issues raised by Jan Sithole in Parliament that was also sabotaged and never reached the public domain was the issue of minerals, he wanted to know how much money was generated through mineral resources and why that money was not benefiting the people. But it's not only Jan Sithole who was sabotaged, we raised critical issues in Parliament that were sabotaged, its all in the Parliament Notice Papers", said the former Hhukwini MP.
Indeed, the critical information secretly kept in Parliament suggests that instead of reporting the issue as it unfolded in the House where the pillars of the Tinkhundla system were shaking, the Times of Swaziland published an article on the 29th July 2017 praising the late Prime Minister and publishing his history of dealing with critics.
“Known for his shrewdness, the PM holds the record of never losing a fight against those who challenge him publicly. Some of those considered his victims are former Chief Justice Michael Ramodibedi, former Minister of Justice Senator Sibusiso Shongwe, former Minister of Tourism and Environmental Affairs Macford Sibandze, the late former Liqoqo Chairman Prince Logcogco Mangaliso, the late Clerk to Parliament Ben Zwane and Lobamba Lomdzala MP Marwick Khumalo to mention just a few”,read an article published by the Times.
A former political journalist of the Times who was very close to the matter told this publication that this was strategically meant to intimidate the other MPs who were supporting the intended motion.
"The article was a political strategy meant to intimidate the other MPs who were challenging the system that Barnabas would deal with them, you will note that every time Barnabas was challenged in Parliament, the journalists would quickly publish articles reminding the Nation that he always won political battles so that he could be feared" ,said the former Times journalist.
Mbongseni Shabangu, the Secretary General of the Swaziland Democratic Party(SWADEPA) when reached for comments by this publication confirmed that various motions by the late political activist were sabotaged by the State controlled media.
"Jan Sithole's era in Parliament was highlighted by so many challenges of a multinational governing system. After the 5 years, Regional, Continental and international organisations finally got first hand information about the challenges in the Eswatini political setup. Luckly, we were able to record all the trends and proceedings of Parliament by virtue of having our own members within the August house" said the SWADEPA Secretary General.
A questionnaire was sent to Martin Dlamini, the Managing Editor of the Times of eSwatini, however, he had not responded at the time of compiling this report.
On or around 07 May 2018, the late SWADEPA President told the Swazi Observer that he would never keep quiet as long as the people were suffering as a result of government's failure to provide services, he was responding to sentiments made by the late Tinkhundla loyalist Dumsani Ndlangamandla, the then Minister of Information, Communication and Technology(ICT) who labelled him as a coward suggesting that Sithole must resign from Parliament for opposing the political system.
"I am too scared to be silent when there is an acute shortage of drugs in public health centres. I am too much of a coward to be silent when schools are not given in time resources for the FPE, and expect quality education to prevail. As long as I am a taxpayer I will not resign from any forum(including Parliament) where I can make my contribution for the betterment of this country and condemn injustice where it surfaces and suggest improvements where possible", said the late SWADEPA President when quoted by the Swazi Observer.
It later emerged that even though the critical debates by the late powerful political activist were sabotaged by the media, through intelligence information, royalty was fully aware of his attempts to shake the system even within Parliament in the interest of the people. This resulted to Prince Majaha publicly celebrating his death through a leaked video published by this publication, he subsequently confirmed that he hated anyone who was giving his father King Mswati a hard time by calling for democracy.
The late SWADEPA President Jan Sithole