Swaziland’s Prime Minister, Barnabas Dlamini said a member of parliament wants him assassinated.
He said this in a statement on Thursday (4 April 2018) while responding to a move by the Swazi House of Assembly to have him charged with contempt of parliament. The motion has not yet appeared.
The Times of Swaziland, the only independent daily newspaper in the kingdom ruled by King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, reported, ‘It is believed that the assassination insinuations stem from the fact that during the December 11 debate, MP Sikhumbuzo [Dlamini] had stated that it was a pity that the PM’s security was that from the Royal Swaziland Police who were the same people who had to arrest him.
‘He said the PM should be guarded by a private security company.’
The Times added, ‘The tension between the two started last year when the PM, during the official opening of the Sigwe Post Office, advised the elderly to register to be paid their grants and not listen to some people, particularly MPs who had by that time “boycotted” House business until the issue of the grants was sorted.
‘At that point, Cabinet also resolved to keep away from Parliament as they stated that there was no money as yet to pay the elderly who had turned 60 last year.’
The Swazi Observer reported on Friday (6 April 2018) the premier said MP Sikhumbuzo Dlamini, ‘insinuated that the prime minister should be assassinated’.
The Observer reported the Prime Minister saying, ‘If my life is threatened with assassination, I will discuss it in and outside Parliament.’
Prime Minister Dlamini has been under attack from parliamentarians in the past because they believe he ‘over-steps’ his authority. In Swaziland the Prime Minister is not elected by the people or by other members of parliament. He is appointed by the King. He considers himself to be the representative of the King.
He is on public record saying, ‘Government listens when His Majesty speaks and we will always implement the wishes of the King and the Queen Mother.’ The PM said Cabinet’s position was that it respected His Majesty’s position on all matters he spoke about.
Dlamini has served two separate periods as Prime Minister. His present appointment dates from 2008. In 2016, King Mswati granted Dlamini unlimited power to intervene in the business of any government department. The move came after the President of the Swazi Senate Gelane Zwane, questioned the power of the Prime Minister.
Zwane was not elected to office and was directly appointed by the King.
The change was tabled in the Swazi Parliament on 22 February 2016 although the legal notice had been signed by the King in November 2015.
The Times of Swaziland reported at the time that the King had revoked the Assignment of Responsibilities to Ministers Notice 2009 which had been in force since the current ministries were set up.
The new legal notice N0.189 of 2015 was signed by the King on 10 November 2015 at Lozitha Palace. It confirms S70 of the Swaziland Constitution which states, ‘The King may, after consultation with the Prime Minister, assign to the Prime Minister or any other Minister responsibility for the conduct of any business of the Government including the administration of any department of Government.’
The Times reported, ‘When asked by this reporter why he had waited so long to table the Legal Notice or working instrument, the PM said it had always been his intention to table it in Parliament and that is why his office had even bounded it to make it presentable to the legislators.
‘“However, with the sudden turn of events when my responsibilities have been questioned by the Senate President, Gelane Zwane, I also felt it was proper to inform the legislators as early as possible,” said Dlamini.’
This was a reference to an on-going dispute between the Prime Minister and the Senate President about the powers of the PM. In a speech at the opening of the Swazi Parliament on 12 February 2016 Zwane warned the PM about taking powers that were not his and said he was only ‘chairman of cabinet and leader of government business in parliament’.
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