LOBAMBA: Angry Members of Parliament (MPs) vow to elect businessman Sifiso Mabuza into Senate despite the harassment he was subjected to by the police as the tension between Parliament and those in power over the alleged abuse of the Prevention of Organized Crime Act (POCA) to target dagga farmers intensify.
This comes after a highly investigative article by this Swaziland News that exposed how King Mswati allegedly entered into a dagga deal with Stem Holdings, a company based in the United States and subsequently unleashed police officers on the dagga farmers triggering tension between Cabinet and Parliament after citizens complained to their various MPs that they were being targeted.
Businessman Sifiso Mabuza, the Senate candidate and brother to Hosea MP Mduduzi ‘Bacede’ Mabuza who moved a motion that resulted to a Parliament resolution suspending POCA, was subsequently harassed by the highest police investigation unit Tingcungculu in what the law enforcement described as a vetting process, however Eswatini police Spokesperson Phindile Vilakati later confirmed to the media that they were investigating a case against Mabuza but declined to reveal further information saying that might compromise their case in court.
But an MP who spoke to this publication said no law prevents them from electing Mabuza even if he can be charged few hours before he elections.
“No law prevents us to elect him even if they can charge him few hours before we go to the ballot box. Umtsetfo utsi umuntfu ngeke akhetfwe uma aboshwe wagwetjwa iminyaka lengetulu kwa-6months, manje sitake sibone kutsi batambeka licala, baliteke, baphindze bamgwebe masinyane kungakefiki lesitsatfu yini. Tsine sambona nje ku-ballot paper, siyamhlaba, kutsi ukhona ku-public gallery noma akekho, kute lokusivimbako, utoba yi-Senator noma alejele, aphume nakaphuma abuye angene ePhalamende?(meaning: The law states that one cannot be elected only if he or she was previously convicted for more than six-months, so we are eagerly waiting to see if they will charge, trial and convict him in the next coming days before Wednesday. Once his picture appears in the ballox paper, we will elect him, whether he will be sitting in the public gallery or not it doesn’t matter” said the MP who cannot be named for ethical reasons.
MP Mduduzi ‘Bacede’ Mabuza, the powerful and politically connected legislator was quoted by the Times of Eswatini confirming that the harassment of his brother had nothing to do with the vetting but was triggered by the ‘hottest’ matters that were discussed in Parliament.
“This has nothing to do with my brother, but he is suffering because of my involvement over the hottest matters that were discussed in Parliament” said the MP.
Sifiso Khumalo, the Attorney General recently told this publication that Parliament was not above the Constitution and warned against what he described as an attack to the rule of law.
“I made my position clear on this matter in Parliament but it’s important to understand that Parliament is not above the Constitution and we must guard against an attack to the rule of law, something that might result to negative effects for the country at international level” said the Principal Government Legal Adviser.
Reached earlier for comments by this Swaziland News, Themba Msibi, the former Speaker in the House of Assembly now Regional Administrator for the Lubombo region said even though vetting forms part of the elections process in the country, the vetting of Senate candidate Sifiso Mabuza leaves for more questions.
“Vetting forms part of the process for elections but it has never happened that a person be vetted while the elections were already in progress, this is new and more questionable. However, I can’t comment further as I am not close to the matter, maybe the police can explain this” said the former Speaker in the House of Parliament.
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