Unban political parties first before referendum – Dr PQ


MBABANE – As calls for the democratisation of the Kingdom of eSwatini grow louder by the day, some people and commentators alike have called on Parliament to convene a joint sitting to decide on the political direction the country should take, where political scientist and former University of eSwatini lecturer Dr Petros Qambukusa Magagula differs with those calls.

Dr PQ, as he is affectionately known since his days at the University of eSwatini, feels there was a need for the opening the political playing field first before the country could talk about a holding a referendum among the citizens. Dr PQ is of the view that a majority of Swazis were not politically aware to understand what a referendum could offer to the nation with a population of over one million citizens in southern Africa.

“I am of the view that political parties should first be allowed to operate freely for three years before the nation can be expected to vote in a referendum. If political parties were to endorse a referendum, they would be defeated hands-down by the Tinkhundla system of government,” Magagula told Siyalu Media.

He said this option could save political parties from being embarrassed and defeated since the effects of the King’s Proclamation of April 12, 1973 had instilled fear among citizens, thus it will need them to work extra hard to ensure that the benefits as provided by political parties could be displayed to Swazis. 

Looking back at what happened during the plebiscite, where Swazis were to choose between a reindeer and a symbol of a kraal. To support his argument, Dr PQ said Swazis voted for something familiar to them and it was for this reason that they chose the kraal symbol as compared to the reindeer, which was known as Mpondompondo because it had a number of horns.

The kingdom has seen an unprecedented spate of protests in all corners of the country, which led to the Acting Prime Minister Themba Masuku announcing that government was outlawing the delivery of petitions to the different Tinkhundla centres as from June 24, 2021.

Meanwhile, proponents of multi-party democracy have vowed to go ahead with the planned protests, whereafter the Police chief William Tsitsibala Dlamini pledged that they would ensure that no protests take place and they had enlisted the services of the Swazi army to be on standby to ensure that they brought any anarchy “under control”. He told a media conference that the protests were having political undertones.

“As the police we are all out to ensure that these protests do not proceed, we will enlist the services of other security apparatus to ensure that the protests do not proceed because they could destabilise the country,” warned the police chief. 

Members of Parliament were of the view that they should approach the king for advice and counsel on the issue of protests, while some Swazis were of the view that the MPs were the ones who should offer advice to the king. That narrative was because the MPs knew what the protestors were complaining about and how their concerns could be resolved. 

Not long ago a Zimbabwean prophet, Ian Ndlovu delivered numerous prophecies about the kingdom, with some about how the country would experience political upheavals, which he claimed was part of the fulfillment of the end times, leading to the widely talked about and ancient end of the world.  However, Government Spokesperson Sabelo Dlamini was recently quoted by one of the local weekend papers that government did not subscribe to prophecies.

It should also be noted that in recent weeks, long-serving member of Parliament Marwick Khumalo recently told a leading Sunday newspaper that the King should lead reforms in order to protect the institution of the monarchy. Khumalo is a member of Sibahle Sinje Cultural Organisation, which is a pro cultural organization that was set up during the era of the infamous 1996 strike action led by well-known unionists, including Solomon Nxumalo, Jabulani Nxumalo, the current Lubombo Regional Administrator Themba Msibi and the late no-nonsense Jani Sithole.      

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