Africa-Press – Eswatini. An SABC News virtual interview featuring Government Spokesperson Alpheous Nxumalo, SWALIMO President Mduduzi ‘Gawuzela’ Simelane and PUDEMO leader Mlungisi Makhanya, was nothing short of a stand-off.

The interview of the trio was featured in a programme called Ekhaya Jikelele, which was aired on August 25, a day before the primary elections. The Swaziland Liberation Movement (SWALIMO) and People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO) leaders were asked to share their views on the ongoing general elections, which are now heading to the secondary level on September 29, 2023.


When given the floor, Makhanya made it known that it had always been the stance of PUDEMO not to participate in the general elections, because it did not want to conform to the norm that the government was for the people, but for the authority. He said this was not an election where emaSwati were given the chance to formulate their own government because the appointing authority was selecting favoured people for the Executive seats, an exercise which Makhanya said should be the responsibility of the masses. “PUDEMO is a movement that is fighting for the liberation of the people of Eswatini. Our policy does not allow us to permit our members to be part of the persons available for selection into the country’s executive because we don’t believe in that criterion,” he said. He alleged that the elections were held at a time when the electorate was threatened that if they did not participate in the elections, they would not be beneficiaries of such things as scholarships, among other social benefits.

Responding to Makhanya’s remarks, Nxumalo said the democracy defined by Makhanya was synonymous with political parties yet the origins of democracy, according to Nxumalo, was a government chosen by the people for the people. “PUDEMO has always wanted to dislodge the people from the right to elect their government from the various tinkhundla centres, so that the government can be imposed by political parties and their executives in some offices within the corridors of Mbabane, Ezulwini and Manzini, something that emaSwati frowned upon as back as 1991 and they declared that they wanted to elect a government from their constituencies,” he said.


Nxumalo said it was PUDEMO’s choice to fight for the political ideology that they believed in, but the time for that ideology had not yet come because emaSwati were embracing the Tinkhundla System of Government and that was evident by the number of voters who registered to participate in the elections. Prior to the introduction of the local interviewees, the programmes’ presenter shared that there were over 580 000 people who had registered to participate in the elections. Given the floor, Simelane said he was astonished to hear Nxumalo saying all was well in the Kingdom of Eswatini and calm was prevailing. He shared that the soil of Eswatini was blemished from the blood that was spilt at the height of the political unrest. He said even government concurred that over 40 people were killed during the political unrest in 2021.

He stated that the position of SWALIMO in the ongoing general elections was that they were not endorsing it because they were an organisation that was making decisions based on consultations with its membership; hence they had come to the conclusion that they would fight the regime from within Parliament. “I must mention that it is not true that emaSwati choose their own government but they choose a Parliament that is not free. We choose not to be absent when our people are fighting the regime but we choose to be with them and stand by them,” he said. Simelane emphasised on Makhanya’s point that the Government of Eswatini was not elected, but it was appointed, hence it was not for the people. While Simelane was making his submissions, Nxumalo laughed hysterically, so much that the presenter asked him to share what he found amusing in Simelane’s remarks. Nxumalo said it was funny for Simelane to say they would fight the current status quo from within because no undemocratic government would give one a platform to fight it from within.


When requested to share his comment on Simelane’s opinion that the government of Eswatini was appointed by the authority, not elected by the people, Nxumalo said: “I can’t teach a grown man the fundamentals of what is a government. Members of Parliament are the government, which is formed by the three arms of the State, which are Parliament, Legislature and the Executive. There is nowhere in the world where an executive is elected, whether its democracy of political parties, western government or anywhere,” said Nxumalo. He said the executive would always be appointed or selected and one was part of government by the virtue of being in Parliament.

Source: times

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