Can the King’s Office Clarify?
The Swazi Democratic Party (SWADEPA), Influenced and encouraged by the constitution which was assented on the 26th of July, 2005 at Sibaya and signed by His Majesty the King Mswati III, in its section 2 which reads thus,
2(1) this constitution is the supreme law of Swaziland and if any other law is inconsistent with the constitution that other law shall to the extent of the inconsistency, be void.
2(2) The King and iNgwenyama and all the citizens of Swaziland have the right and duty at all times to uphold and defend this constitution
2(3) any person who-
(a) By himself or in concert with others by any violent or other unlawful means suspends or overthrows or abrogates this constitution or any part of it, or attempts to do any such acts; or
(b) Aids and abets in any manner any person referred to in paragraph (a) commits the offence of treason.
SWADEPA is motivated even more when it reads sections 23 on the protection of the freedom of conscience, section 24 on the protection of the freedom of expression and section 25 on the protection of the freedom of Assembly and association and further encouraged by section 63 that speaks to the duties of the citizen where section 63 that reads thus;
“The exercise and enjoyment of rights and freedoms is inseparable from the performance of duties and obligations, and accordingly, it shall be the duty of every citizen to-
(a) Uphold and defend this constitution and the law,
(b) Promote the prestige and good name of Swaziland and respect the symbols of the nation
(c) Further the national interest and to foster national unity;
(d) Respect the rights and freedoms and legitimate interests of others, and generally to refrain from doing acts detrimental to the welfare of other persons;
(e) Promote democracy and the rule of law
(f) Work conscientiously in the lawfully chosen occupation of that citizen
(g) Protect and preserve public property, and to combat misuse and waste of public funds and property;
With the above organizational and individual citizens rights and obligations, SWADEPA without fear or favour would like clarity of both contradictions, ambiguity and /or correctness of the viral social media statement purportedly written by His Majesty retorting and rebutting to the wide ranging citizen’s concerns on the mistiming and/or seriously unfortunate coincidence on the E91 Million contribution to the global fund and the purchase of the flashy Rolls Royces’, in the face of the obviously deepened economic distress that the country is going through, where tertiary students have no basic allowances to buy food, where public servants have not been paid CoLA for the last three years, where public health centres do not have sufficient drugs, where over 230,000 people are feeding on donor aid food, where over 60% working people are earning below poverty datum line, where unemployment is continually on the increase and where HIV/ADS is still on the high.
It is normal and allowed by our constitution as stipulated in section 63 above on the duties of the citizen to query and question the executive on issues that may be detrimental to the welfare of the people, promote democracy and the rule of law, and protect and preserve public property and to combat misuse and waste of public funds.
SWADEPA would like clarity from the Chief Executive Officer in the King’s office if this viral social media write-up is indeed a response from their Majesties or a Hoax, because under normal circumstances their Majesties cannot be expected to descend to the level of addressing individual people’s concerns without using formal available structures, such as the Kings Office, the office of the Prime Minister, the office of the Ludzidzini Governor to mention but a few, that is one of the reasons as SWADEPA, we want your office to clarify this.
Secondly, the content of the viral social media message, the tone is both arrogant and too harsh, the language is toxic and the content is threatening, unpeaceful and advocating forced silence and the use of armed forces to achieve frustration of the Bill of rights promoted and protected by the constitution of the Kingdom to which the King assented to, SWADEPA demands clarity.
Thirdly SWADEPA believes that this statement if left unattended it has a potential of serious implications to the country nationally, regionally and internationally.
Fourthly this viral message contradicts what their Majesties said at the coronation in 1986, that he would follow on Sobhuza’s philosophy with regards to the recognition of his people, because Sobhuza II believed that ‘Inkhosi yinkhosi ngebantfu’ and this viral message has total disregard and defiant to the people’s dignity.
Nationally, this statement is tantamount to the rebirth of the draconian 1973 decree and total disregard and subjugation of the country’s constitution on freedoms of conscience, expression and speech and the right of citizens to question and demand accountability from the governing authorities. As such if unaddressed it will leave the nation completely confused and traumatized. Particularly that the viral message in part, trivializes the excessive expenditure, and gives a picture that the estimated E200 million on the purchase of the Rolls Royce’s, is just small change and that the country has lots of money when all sectors of government and even the road map indicates that the country is not doing well, the IMF and World Bank also demonstrate that our challenge is due to skewed or unfair distribution of the wealth we create as a nation, wherein the biggest chunk goes to a very few and the majority share the crumbs and this in simpler terms, the poverty and lack of people-focused service delivery is deliberate and self-inflicted by those that govern to the peoples of this country, a blatantly unequivocal brutal economic injustice.
This message also states that people are expected to be silent about this matter and/or any form of bad-governance criticism, it goes on to pick a line similar to the 1973 decree by saying, the armed officers shall enforce and deal with anybody who ever express themselves critically on these issues of extravagance in the face of scarcity of basic needs of good and services.
Finally if this statement remains unclear, it will tell the international community in all bodies into which we are members and signatory to the treaties, declarations, protocols and principles to such as the United Nation (UN), the Commonwealth, the African Union (AU) the Southern African Development Community, the European Union (EU), the African Growth opportunities Act (AGOA) of the United States, and this would be a contradiction to section 236 of the constitution of the Kingdom on international relations.
All said and done, this country needs a political all-inclusive national dialogue with an open mind, that will accept dissenting opinions in order to find a lasting solution in shaping progressive policies that will suit the Eswatini we all want. The current Economic Recovery road map just as all previous economic policies will not deliver us the Eswatini we want because they all deliberately leave out the political pillar yet it is the political decisions that will continue to undermine the good intent of economic policies. We need that national dialogue as in yesterday.
Jan J Sithole