Mbabane: The Judiciary should speed up the trial process of the two incarcerated Members of Parliament (MPs), of Ngwempisi’s Mthandeni Dube and Hosea’s Mduduzi ‘Bacede’ Mabuza.
This is the view of the newly elected Deputy Speaker in the House of Assembly, Mhlangatane’s Madala Mhlanga. Mhlanga was expressing his comments when quizzed by this publication on his perception regarding the impact that the arrest of his colleagues is having on Parliament’s proceedings.
“It is really difficult to make a comprehensive assertion on this matter at present because it is now before the courts and as such it is sub-judice.” “What we have in mind as parliamentarians, however, is the effect that this is having on the electorate in their constituencies. This is because they might be missing out on any assistance that they would ordinarily be receiving from their elected members. So the sooner they know of their fate the better,” Mhlanga said.
Mthandeni Dube and Mduduzi Mabuza are facing charges relating to the Suppression of Terrorism Act of 2008 alongside Siphofaneni MP Mduduzi “Gawuzela” Simelane who is considered to be a fugitive from justice having disappeared following the violent protests that engulfed the country in June. The three parliamentarians are alleged to have incited the protests actions that started at their respective constituencies which subsequently spread across the country.
This stemmed from their assertion that the Prime Minister should be elected by the public and not appointed by His Majesty the King. The violent demonstrations that ensued led to the destruction of private and public property worth approximately E3 billion, the torching of 11 schools, and the deaths of more than 70 people.
In resolving the current political impasse in the country, Mhlanga is of the view that “there is a need for a meaningful and peaceful dialogue among emaSwati. This dialogue should not be influenced by outsiders or foreigners. People should be able to speak freely and they should use the platforms that already exist which are our constituencies or chiefdoms. It is of importance that the submissions made by the people are implemented.
Furthermore, there should be no deviation from the constitution as solutions are being sought. If emaSwati feels that there should be amendments to the constitution then these must be done properly.”
In as far as the desire from certain quarters that the Prime Minister should be elected directly by the people, Mhlanga thinks that the existing platforms as previously mentioned must be utilized to deal with the matter.
Cabinet within their rights to lobby for parliamentarian positions
If members of the Cabinet did lobby on my behalf, then they were well within their rights to do so according to the newly elected Deputy Speaker in the House of Assembly, Mhlangatane Inkhundla’s Madala Mhlanga.
Mhlanga was responding to rumors that he received an unfair advantage in last month’s election for the Deputy Speaker position. It is alleged that members of Cabinet lobbied in his favour, hence suppressing any challenge by other parliamentarians who had ambitions for the position.
The underlying narrative is that Mhlanga’s popularity among members of Cabinet has been gained through his tendency to support any motion that is moved from their quarters. It is alleged that his tendency has placed him in a good light with Cabinet to the extent that he was viewed as a possible candidate for a ministerial post in the event of a Cabinet reshuffle.
The Mhlangatane parliamentarian is not taking kindly to these assertions and views them as a source of sour grapes particularly because it is not clear who is promulgating what he terms as a malicious narrative. “It is difficult to even respond to these faceless people because nobody has come out to accuse me directly.
Nonetheless, Cabinet members are also parliamentarians so there’s nothing wrong if they did indeed lobby for me among themselves. The same is true even with backbenchers. There was no unfairness to other colleagues because other candidates for the position were also being lobbied openly,” he said.
“What I do know is that the Deputy Speaker position became vacant on August 15 and on the19th I received a phone call from my colleagues who strongly felt that I was fit for the position and they suggested that I should stand, to which I agreed. What is important to note, however, is that on the day of the election (August 26) there were only 10 members of Cabinet present and I received 34 votes. This means that most of the votes that I received were from ordinary Members of Parliament and backbenchers. So it cannot be true that I was voted in by Cabinet,” he argued.
Who is Madala Mhlanga
Date of birth – 14 May 1974
Place of birth – Mphofu, Mhlangatane
School – Ezulwini Valley High School
Tertiary Education – Gwamile VOCTIM -Diploma Business Administration
Previous Job: Self-employed (businessman)
ETVA Board member
Political background: First campaign 2008-lost
Second campaign 2013-lost
Third campaign 2018-won