Saturday, February 27, 2010


The Speaker of the Swaziland House of Assembly has told Barnabas Dlamini, the illegally-appointed Prime Minister to his face that he is answerable to Parliament.

Dlamini had asserted earlier in the week that he was answerable to no one, and even King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch had to consult him on some matters.

Yesterday (26 February 2010,) Speaker Prince Guduza told Dlamini and the whole House of Assembly that the Prime Minister answered to Parliament.

The House was meeting to hear Finance Minister Majozi Sithole deliver his annual budget speech, but before e could begin Speaker Guduza read a prepared statement.

In it he said, contrary to the PM’s assertion, the PM was not head of Parliament, instead, the king was.

He said, ‘No member or individual of this House, regardless of his status or position is above the authority of the Speaker. On the contrary, the Speaker is accountable to this House in its collective form and to His Majesty the King.’

He said the Swaziland Constitution sections 68 and 69 made this clear.

He said anyone who said otherwise ‘should be condemned by all law abiding citizens’.

Senate President Gelane Zwane had previously said that there was a separation of powers between the legislature, the executive and the judiciary in Swaziland. Dlamini angrily denounced Zwane and told the kingdom that he was in complete control.

In what may have been a reference to Dlamini’s subsequent bullying of Zwane, the Speaker said, ‘Intimidation, manipulation of politicians by another, and in part, using the treasury as battle-ground to settle political scores is devoid of civilised decency and smacks of flagrant abuse of State power.’

The Prime Minister reacted angrily to the Speaker. Dlamini told the Speaker in the House of Assembly, ‘We will answer on what you have just said. You should not take advantage just because you’re the Speaker.’

The Speaker called the PM to order and instructed him to stick to what was in the order paper and nothing more.

According to the Swazi News, an independent newspaper, ‘During recess, legislators conversed in hush tones regarding what had happened inside the chamber; with others predicting that more was still to come.’

More still to come? Yes, I think that’s a fair prediction. Dlamini will not want to take this, but he has now been publicly reminded of his limited powers by both the Senate President and the Speaker of the House of Assembly. If he continues to abuse his power he will no longer be able to claim that Swaziland is a democracy.

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