Mbabane: The adoption of a new national constitution in 2005 paved the way for my exit from the Swaziland Federation of Trade Unions and the so-called “Pro-Democracy” Movement says firebrand political activist Jabulani Nxumalo.
Nxumalo is known for being a pro-democracy politician in the 1990s as a founding member and leader of the Swaziland Federation of Trade Unions (SFTU) alongside Jan Sithole and Richard Nxumalo both of whom have since passed on. The SFTU became synonymous with the 27 demands that they made against the government of the day. These sparked the mother of all nationwide strikes and civil unrest that were dubbed the “sitelega sakhukhulelangogo.” They called for a change to the political status quo and they coined the mantra “nalongayingeni utaze ayingene ” meaning even the disinterested will eventually participate.
The question is, therefore, what changed in Jabulani Nxumalo that led him to adopt a decidedly more pro-monarchy stance. He contends that among the 27 demands, 16 of them were initiated by him. “Among them was demand number 21 which stated that the constitution should contain the Bill of Rights as enshrined under the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights. After the national stay-away protest actions of 1995 and 1996 and the advent of the new constitution in 2005, demand number 21 was addressed. Within the existing national constitution, section 79 states that the Tinkhundla based system of governance is participatory, democratic, and progressive. Section 218 also mentions that it is the people at the grassroots level that chart their way forward and govern themselves. So the power to govern was placed in our hands” contends Nxumalo.
“The constitution took approximately 10 years of being extensively crafted and eventually drafted by all the people. As soon as the state accepted the concept behind demand number 21 which was a key demand, then there was no longer any reason for me to continue with the SFTU” explains Nxumalo.
Nonetheless, he continues to have contentious political views such as that regarding the appointment of the Prime Minister. Nxumalo contends that “His Majesty King Mswati does not appoint the Prime Minister. According to the Constitution in which there is a paragraph that deals with the appointment of the Prime Minister, it is the Swaziland National Council (SNC) along with Liqoqo that are mandated to deal with this responsibility.”
“After an extensive process of communication and dialogue, the SNC and Liqoqo then submit the name of the identified candidate to the King who endorses it and announces the name to the nation at the cattle byre in Ludzidzini.”
“The cattle byre where all Emaswati are able to participate in the highest decision-making organ or structure of the nation. Members of the SNC and Liqoqo are selected across the mainstream of the country’s populace, they are therefore representatives of the people and as such the process of appointing a Prime Minister is inclusive. The Prime Minister then determines which people he can work with and selects the members who will form his cabinet. It is also not true that the monarch appoints Judges. This is the preserve of the Judicial Service Commission” submits Nxumalo.
Jabulani Nxumalo who is a member of the newly formed organization called Mangololosays “it is not a political party but a national movement that has a constitution but not a manifesto. It is more like a pressure group which is accommodative to every Liswati; one that is forward-looking and not affiliated to any party.”
Nxumalo characterizes Mangololo as a futuristic group with a clear direction towards transforming Eswatini economically, socially, politically, and administratively. He says “the name Mangololo is derived from the SiSwati name of a highly combustible tree that burns with the warmth which can be enjoyed by everybody. It is the warmth that has drawn me to this organization.”
“Mangololo does not subscribe to the division of Emaswati along political lines. Such divisiveness destroys the cohesiveness of the nation. As a nation, we are united in our diversity and we should pursue our best interests without reaching a point of animosity. Within the policies of Mangololo is enshrined the importance of retaining the existing jobs, markets, investors, and strengthening international relations” says Nxumalo.
He views the ongoing situation of arson attacks against schools as abuse against the children. He believes there are faceless forces that are coercing children to engage in these acts and wonders where the children will get an education if they continue along this vein. In line with the reconstruction efforts that are being implemented by the government following the June social and political uprisings, Nxumalo sends out an appeal to investors to remain in the country. He also appeals to the government to urgently engage in law reforms and constitutional amendments because the constitutional framework is fluid and evolves with the passage of time.