Mbabane: Former Deputy Senate President Ngom’yayona Gamedze wants to bounce back to Parliament as a senator.
Independent News has reliably learnt that Gamedze, who was Senate Deputy President from 2013-2018, has been nominated as one of the Senate contenders alongside four others. Nominations were conducted on Thursday afternoon. The other hopefuls are Sifiso Mabuza, a brother to Minister of Agriculture Jabulani ‘Buy Cash’ Mabuza and Bacede ‘Baceth’ Mabuza, Bongani Matsebula, Jacques Potgieter and Jimmy Hlophe.
These five aspirants would be garnering for votes to replace deceased Senator Michael ‘Mike’ Temple. Death robbed the country of a great politician, businessman and philanthropist in Senator Temple. Temple drew his last breath after he collapsed following a morning exercise session at his home and was confirmed dead at Medisun Hospital in Ezulwini on June 21, 2019.
Meanwhile, in 2018, the election of Senators was reportedly stained with corruption where members of the House of Assembly were given bribes by those who wanted seats on the Eswatini Senate. Swaziland is an absolute monarchy and none of the 30 members of the Eswatini Senate are elected by the people. Twenty (20) are appointed by King Mswati III and the rest are elected by the House of Assembly.
Following the election of the House of Assembly on Friday, September 21, 2018, it was reported that people approached the new members with bribes, the Times of Swaziland (Eswatini) reported. It said offers of bribes in ‘the region of E10,000’ (US$700) were made to one member of parliament for his vote. It was refused, the newspaper added.
The Times reported one anonymous MP saying: “I have already met a few people who have expressed their wish to be voted into Senate.” It added: “Unconfirmed allegations have been to the effect that Senate seats could go as high as E60 000 paid to each MP.’ The Times reported another new MP who said ‘he had received the calls to meet certain individuals, they were sceptical in case it could be a trap’.
The report was not the first suggesting bribes are offered for Senate seats. In the run-up to the election Ncumbi Maziya, former Commissioner at the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC), told a workshop for election candidates that members of parliament charged E60 000 for their vote.
The, Eswatini Observer newspaper reported in August 2018, and quoted Maziya to have said parliamentarians are the most corrupt people. He said he has since gathered that parliamentarians are swindling money from people who want to make it into Senate.
It added: “Maziya said he learnt that people are made to fork out money amounting to E60 000 if they want to get a vote to be elected into Senate. “If you have no money you won’t make it into Senate,” Maziya was quoted to have said. Corruption is believed to be widespread in Eswatini. In December 2017, Eswatini’s Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) issued a report suggesting that 79 per cent of 3 090 people interviewed in a survey believed that corruption within government was ‘rife’.
The survey suggested that corruption was perceived to take place mostly in rural councils. The perceived major causes of corruption were poverty (58 percent), unemployment (54 percent) and greed (41 percent). The survey was conducted by the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs through the ACC.
The Senate hopefuls
- Ngom’yayona Gamedze
- Sifiso Nkhundleni Mabuza
- Bongani Matsebula
- Jimmy Hlople
- Jacques Potgieter