By Lunga Masuku
MBABANE – As proponents of multi-party campaign in the landlocked Kingdom of eSwatini, formerly Swaziland, gains speed there are key things they will have to guard against.
An expert’s opinion was sought from retired University of eSwatini Political Science lecturer, Dr Petros Qambukusa Magagula, better known as Dr PQ, is of the view that those calling for political reforms should negotiate from an informed position.
In an interview with Siyalu Media, Dr PQ felt there was a need to adhere to principles of globally accepted democratic principles while pursuing this call for democratic reforms. Among these is agreeing on the agenda by both parties, that should also cover the duration of the process in order to guard against delaying tactics that may be applied by the other group they were negotiating with.
“Acceptable principles say the parties should be equal during the negotiation process, by this I mean those representing the government must not try to impose issues or ideas, everything should be discussed as equals,” Magagula told Siyalu Media.
“The political conditions must not favour one party over the other, there should be mechanisms put in place in the event there is a serious disagreement during the process. There should be set down timeframes for the exercise in order to ensure that it does not drag forever. This should be agreed upon before the talks begin. The first session should first agree on who will be in power during the duration of the dialogue period,” said Dr PQ.
All these should be dealt with in the preparatory stage before the dialogue starts so that the dialogue produces the desired outcomes, said the political science expert.
“In order to avoid pitfalls, they need to be careful that they do not get trapped by the opponent’s tactic of creating division among them, personality cultism should be done away with, they should adopt a no-zero sum negotiation approach and time delaying tactics,” added Dr PQ.
Magagula explained that a no-zero sum is when negotiators should be ready to win some and lose some of their demands. He said in order for the local team they should study the route that was taken by South Africa before the new order during the CODESA talks. A case in point about the South African talks, there were organisations that felt that people like the late Nelson Mandela were too soft on land reform process the country was to adopt, this was with regard to farms that were was once occupied by bonafide South Africans.
This comes in the wake of unprecedented spate of protests that engulfed the tiny landlocked kingdom in the past four months where it saw dozens of Swazis allegedly dying in the hands of security personnel. That saw the regional block the Southern African Development Community (SADC) TROIKA organ taking up the issue of the civil unrest that left the landlocked kingdom in shambles where major businesses believed to be linked with the royal family and the government being looted and burnt by arsonists.
South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa who currently chairs the peace and security organ has assured the global community that King Mswati 111 had committed himself to hold dialogue after he has finished with his mandatory Incwala sacred ceremony which is already underway. That is because the water party or bemanti have already been dispatched to go and collect sea water in Mozambique. During the Incwala ceremony the king disappears in public up until he has finished the festivities associated with the ceremony.
The announcement by Ramaphosa was met with skepticism from proponents of multi-party democracy who feel that holding talks at the cattle byre or Sibaya will not bear the desired results since it was at the king’s court.
Director of Communications in the King’s Office, Percy Simelane has repeatedly said any dialogue outside the cattle byre will be null and void. Simelane argued that even the Swaziland Constitution Act of 2005, was a product of Sibaya.
“Procedurally, the king does not preside over the people’s parliament (Sibaya) instead he comes to Sibaya to set the tone and introduce the issues to be debated upon and leave. If the debate takes a week or two, he would be away and for that duration and come back to hear the recommendations made on each issue,” Simelane said in an earlier interview.
Meanwhile, in the case of the Kingdom of eSwatini the terms of reference will be drafted by recognised stakeholders and the ministry of foreign affairs and international corporation. Interestingly, key stakeholders have been proscribed entities.
Hundreds of Swazis descended at a Boksburg hotel where they attended a team building exercise meant at working as a unit if they were to win the battle against the status quo.

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