ESWATINI’s much anticipated political dialogue has tapered to a conclusion after a week during which ordinary people addressed the range of issues in the political, economic and social spectrum.
Opening the dialogue on 23 October in the Ludzidzini Royal Cattle Byre, the customary venue for the open air forum a forum that involves any adult citizen, King Mswati lll challenged people to speak openly and clear their chest of whatever issues in their minds.
Reflecting awareness of the issue that flared into a national uprising two years ago, the King specifically asked for public views to guide him in the appointment of a Prime Minister. The prime minister’s position is currently semi-vacant following general elections that ended on 29th September 2023. The House of Parliament has however become steeped in allegations of corruption. Members of Parliament allegedly accepted extensive bribes in exchange for their votes for members of the upper chamber, the House of Senate.
The dominant view among younger members of the public who form the majority is a demand for an accountable Prime Minister who is elected by Members of Parliament. The emotive issue spiralled out of control in June 2021 in almost two months of nationwide riots that spun into a coordinated terrorist insurgency. Two members of parliament blamed for inspiring the tensions leading to the riots; Bacede Mabuza and Mthandeni Dube were recently convicted for the acts and now await long prison sentences. A third MP, Mduduzi Simelane skipped the country and is now based in the United Kingdom but remains an influential political voice through his political party, SWALIMO. Some members of the party who participated in the recent elections as individuals may now be Members of Parliament.
The sentiment for an accountable Prime Minister emerged sporadically during submissions in the kraal but is not expected to be influential in the decisions expected to be a prominent feature of the outcome of the national dialogue. The dialogue which was attended by people bused from across the country, has been forced to wind down by a consistent downpour of rain.
The dialogue is expected to close on Friday 3 November 2023, possibly with the naming of the Prime Minister from the ruling Dlamini clan. The current Prime Minister Cleopas Dlamini is expected to retain the position.