Political parties hated by Tinkhundla System
The irony is that the coming about of the independence to the Kingdom of Eswatini was not a hand-out from the British even though were not a colony but a protectorate, which was just a label but had no material difference from the colonies. The groups that demanded for Independence from the British were none other than political parties and workers who went into a protestation that led to the economic stand still. It is the action and demand by political parties that brought the independence of the kingdom.
It must also be mentioned that the impact of the action for these demands received attention by setting up of an all-inclusive political national dialogue between existing political parties then, the Monarchy was represented by the Swazi National Council, the British were represented by the British Council and different political parties, this dialogue produced the independence constitution.
It is important not be deceived that the independence constitution was imposed to us by the British, it was the product of an inclusive process, and this was a perfect document as provided for the following;
· The Bill of rights were fully respected
· Voices of dissent/political parties respected and accepted.
· The Monarch Reigned and was head of State
· People would choose a government through their political parties, whose duty was to ensure service delivery to all living in the Kingdom
· The separation of powers:
o The Independent Judiciary
o The Independent legislature
o The Independent Executive
· Free economic activity
During the era after construction and adoption of the national independence constitution, King Sobhuza II slightfully Associated himself with the Imbokodvo National Movement, which won all the seats, unfortunately this eventuality created a party with no experience of opposition in parliament hence the lack of tolerance against opposition parties in 1973 after the 1972 elections where NNLC had taken three of the twenty –one seat parliament. Imbokodvo, the King’s party could not tolerate any amount of opposition, hence the independence constitution coup de tat by the King when he replaced the constitution with Imbokodvo Unilaterally and replacing it with the notorious and draconian 1973 decree.
I would like everyone to note that political parties are not new in Swaziland, they played a role in the demand for our independence from the British. And that during their era there was separation of powers and very limited corruption if any, and people lived with dignity because there were institutional checks and balances, which are not there now, the role of the Monarchy institution was defined in the constitution but were never above the constitution, and never interfered with the other arms of government.
In essence, all other political parties were banned and only Imbokodvo National Movement remained, which makes the Kingdom of Eswatini a defecto one party state, what people through the PPA are calling for right now, is to right the wrongs that were created as a result of the 1973 Constitutional coup de tat of the independence constitution.
Imbokodvo National movement must compete and not be given access to reign and rule without competition and without checks and balances in the process impoverishing the people and not deliver accessible and affordable basic commodities and services, as we are a highly taxed nation but that is not commensurate to the marginalized service delivery in essential sectors such as health, education, job creation and no economic growth.
King Sobhuza II introduced the tinkhundla system of government and said it was an experiment unfortunately it is a failed system of government, it is an experiment that has out passed its expiry date, it’s time for dialogue for change between the institution of the Monarchy and the peoples of the country.
It must also be remembered that traditional forums of national policy such as Sibaya have been manipulated and people were undermined as most of the issues they raise are not implemented, examples is the voice of no confidence which people raised but were undermined, parliament brought the same issue in parliament and were not only ignored but were fined for suggesting progressive or even incremental changes in the system, it is our wish that a dialogue be genuine and result oriented.
I like the truth in His Royal Highness Prince Masitsela who said at the height of the peoples frustration in the 2012 Sibaya, people were just venting their frustration, I remember he was even asked to withdraw his words, but we can all agree today that seven years after, nothing that was said at Sibaya with venom, anger and ultra-truthfulness was ever addressed former Prime Minister stayed in power until he passed on. I hope now that he is also making a positive statements about dialogue is because he sees that the call by the People through the PPA leadership is an opportunity not to be missed. I hope and wish that his wisdom transcends to the entire institution of the Monarchy.
From this week’s activities planned for Matsapha PPA outreach The above topic is a deduction from lessons learnt from the campaign that the Political Party Assembly (PPA), freshly mandated by the peoples of the Kingdom of Eswatini by all sectors of Society, to advance a demand for dialogue with the Monarchy to reign and people choose a government through their political parties, a tried and tested Monarchy system that guarantees freedoms for all and assures dignity to the people, a political deficit which people have identified as the major cause for all the injustices in the country that have undermined the dignity of the peoples of the country, much against the constitution of the Kingdom of Eswatini, which dictates that people must be treated with dignity, that all people are equal before the law and that all citizens have a duty and obligation to promote democracy and the rule of law.
The Municipality after our notification for the outreach and dissemination of the information and mandate of the PPA from the Peoples of the Kingdom decided to draw a map and termed it risk management map. The irony of this map was that whilst it is fine for the over fifteen thousand people factory workers and public servants in terms of the Police, the military and Correctional to walk and move and stay in Matsapha industrial site it becomes only a high risk to political parties to march through Matsapha streets including but not limited to Mobeni flats and other residences. Which is tantamount to banning marches and freedom of movement and expression for political parties and according to the experience we got 1973 decree lives.
The other irony one of the excuses was that there isn’t sufficient security but what we saw on the day was surplus of police cadreship including Ukhozi who were more active than the civilian police and were on a perfect harassment parade and ridiculing the dignity of the people they cared to frustrate. PPA respects the constitution which also gives freedoms including that of religion and freedom to practice culture. But we abhor an abuse of culture in short it should not be used to intimidate people it must not be imposed let it remain voluntary and be happily practiced but certainly not to be politicized and to be used as an intimidation tool.
Jan J Sithole