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MBABANE – Old and new faces who include serving ministers, outgoing MPs, journalists, businesspeople and pastors are joining the race to Parliament.

At their different chiefdoms, they were nominated to contest in the primary elections that precede the final exercise (secondary elections). The nominations did not proceed without shocks as outspoken politician, Mkhululi Dlamini, an outgoing Senator and former Hhukwini MP was rejected by Maphilingo people under Siphofaneni Inkhundla. In the same way it happened in 1998 when journalists dropped notebooks and accepted nominations, the newsroom is once again represented as Welcome Siyabonga Dlamini, the Times of Eswatini Weekend Deputy Editor, Mhlonishwa Motsa, the Times SUNDAY/Eswatini News Senior Reporter and Alec Lushaba, the Managing Editor of the Eswatini Financial Times agreed to proceed to the primary stage of the elections.

Also headlining the nomination of journalists are Donatus Nkonotja Zwane, a famous radio personality for the national radio, Eswatini Broadcasting and Information Services (EBIS) and John Perez, a talk show host and journalist for Eswatini TV. Vusi Sibisi, a former editor and current feature writer for the Times of Eswatini could be in Parliament if he would play his cards correctly – ‘this time around.’ Familiar with the media environment is Mphilo Dlamini, who worked for the Times of Eswatini as a reporter and later served the Eswatini Observer as editor is crossing his fingers that he be ushered to the august House, but he has to pass the test – the primary elections at Mahlalini in the Shiselweni Region.


Notable among the scribes aspiring for political positions was Mduduzi ‘Top Dog’ Mngomezulu, a seasoned photojournalist with the Eswatini Observer. He was nominated for the position of indvuna yenkhundla at Msunduza under Mbabane East. Old horses include outgoing MP Marwick Khumalo, who was mobbed and sandwiched by his followers who stood up at once after Siphiwe Nkambule had nominated him for the position of MP. That was the sixth nomination for Khumalo, who began his political career in 1998 as an MP for Lobamba Lomdzala. Another seasoned politician who was nominated is Lutfo Ephraem Dlamini, whose political career also began in 1998. He, however, took a break in 2013 as he lost the election but returned in 2018 as a representative of the people of Ndzingeni Inkhundla.

Dr Tambo Gina, the Minister of Economic Planning and Development, accepted nomination. His supporters carried him shoulder high in jubilation that he agreed to represent them in the 12th Parliament. Minister of Agriculture and outgoing MP for Pigg’s Peak agreed to return to the august House. He would contest the primary election with Victor Rodrigues, who is experienced in local government. The Minister of Public Service, Mabulala Maseko could be back in Parliament after his nomination yesterday. The same applies to the Minister of Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Moses Vilakati. Owen Nxumalo, the former Cabinet minister, was nominated at Ngwane Park. Another high profile person is Stephen Zuke, the former Eswatini Environmental Authority (EEA) Chief Executive Officer. Zuke, 64, was also nominated at Ngwane Park under Manzini South. A controversial high profile figure to be nominated is Mashumi Shongwe. Christopher ‘Tototo’ Khoza, a former goalkeeper for Moneni Pirates and Sihlangu, alongside Felix Badenhorst are in the race.


Outgoing Manzini South MP Thandi Nxumalo was also nominated. In the progressive front, Thantaza Silolo was nominated for the position of MP at Zabeni Chiefdom under Lobamba Inkhundla. Silolo is the current spokesperson for the Swaziland Liberation Movement (SWALIMO) and Paul Matimela, the Deputy Secretary General of SWALIMO. Others are Mfanukhona Mnisi at Hhukwini, Wandile Ndlangamandla at Sandleni and Nomalungelo Simelane (LaZwide) at KaMkhweli. Elliot Mkhatshwa, the former President of the defunct Swaziland Federation of Trade Unions (SFTU) and founding members of the Swaziland Democratic Party (SWADEPA) embraced the nomination to be MPs. Pastors also joined the race to Parliament as the current President of the Alliance Church in Eswatini, Reverend Patrick Dlamini, was nominated for the position of MP. Dlamini accepted the nomination at Mgazini under Phondo Inkhundla.

Sabelo Mavuso, the pastor and director of Phumelele High School, was nominated at Mahlangatsha. Senior managers in the private sector are also interested in politics. This was evidenced by Siboniso Hlatshwayo’s embracement of his nomination to be an MP. Hlatshwayo is the Head of Asphalt Department at Inyatsi Construction. He specialises in civil engineering. He was nominated at Buseleni under Nkwene Inkhundla. Other high profile people are outgoing Nkwene MP Vulimpompi Nhleko and Sikhumbuzo Dlamini, the former vibrant MP for the same constituency.

Former Deputy Speaker Esther Dlamini is back in the campaign trail at Msunduza. Some voters under Manzini North exhibited sombre mood when they discovered that outgoing Macford Sibandze did not show up at the nomination centre. According to some of the electorate, after winning the general elections under Manzini North in 2018, the former MP hinted about not joining the race for a seat in Parliament for the 2023-2028 term and they thought he was joking. He confirmed the developments, disclosing that he was out of the country. Sibandze said it was not an easy decision to take because it involved people, some of whom were emotionally attached to him and the job at hand.


He said he took this decision after doing a self-introspection, evaluation, analysis and a series of meetings with different stakeholders. “I believe it’s the best decision at the time,” he said.
Looking back at the previous term, Sibandze said he was happy that he was able to get E6 million for the Siyeni/Sterksroom Road, E3.7 million for Sicelwini/Hillisde Road and E1.5 million for Bhozongo Road, among other projects. Thereafter, he said it would be up to the community to do what was expected of them or meet government halfway as many communities did in the rural areas. In terms of expectations, the former legislator said he did not expect anything, but left everything to God to deploy his or her servant. Meanwhile, the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) has confirmed that it made over 500 rejections for people who had registered under wrong imiphakatsi.

One of the affected is outgoing Nkilongo MP Timothy Myeni. His attempt to stop the nominations process at Mabantaneni under Lubulini Inkhundla was yesterday unsuccessful.
Myeni had approached the High Court on an urgent basis, where he was seeking an order to stop the nominations under the umphakatsi. He had also entreated the court to grant him leave to appeal the decision by the EBC of removing his name from the voters roll for Mabantaneni Umphakatsi. His application to stop the nominations was declined by Judge Bongani Dlamini, who, however, granted him his prayer for leave to appeal the decision.