Swazi MP calls for free speech to be allowed in parliament

MISA-Swaziland Alert
October 11 2013

Jan Sithole, recently elected Swaziland’s member of parliament, has “demanded that there be freedom of speech in Parliament”, according to local newspaper Times of Swaziland.

Times_Jan's Demands
Times of Swaziland, Thursday 10 October, 2013

The Times of Swaziland report says the MP-elect for Manzini North “described MPs of the last term as victims during their term of office because they did not speak freely”.

Moreover, the report says “Sithole’s statement may seem to further challenge the authority of the previous Cabinet led by former Prime Minister Sibusiso Dlamini who will be in the House of Assembly with Sithole”.

Former PM Dlamini was last week appointed by the King to sit in the House of Assembly for another five-year term. There is speculation that the King will again appoint Dlamini as prime minister.

A recent Mail & Guardian article had this to say on Sithole’s election to parliament:

Jan Sithole, who beat one-time tourism minister Macford Sibandze to win Manzini North, is one of the more notable new faces. The respected labour veteran, who leads the Swaziland Democratic Party but who stood as an individual for the election because political parties are not allowed under the country’s Constitution, has said he will take his fight from the picket line to the policy table.

Alex Vines, of the London think tank, Chatham House, which earlier this month published a detailed diagnosis of Swaziland’s failing economy, told the Mail & Guardian that the election of people like Sithole was significant.

“As well as Jan Sithole, you have at least 10 other MPs who are ambitious and potential change agents and so it will be interesting to see how things develop,” he said.

Further controversy is likely to follow Sithole as it would appear he is defying the ‘media and meetings’ ban imposed by the former prime minister. The ban stipulates that all MP-elects should not meet with lobbyists who are seeking to be appointed into the Senate. MPs are also banned from speaking on the TV and the radio.

Click here for more information about censorship and the lack of free speech in Swaziland

Times_Jan free speech
Times of Swaziland, Thursday October 10, 2013

For comments or queries, please contact:
Vuyisile Hlatshwayo
MISA-Swaziland National Director
Email: misa.nd@realnet.co



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