Swaziland
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SYDNEY MASEKO RESIGNS FROM HIS POSITION IN SWALIMO

MBABANE – The Swaziland Liberation Movement (SWALIMO) has lost the services of one of its trusted members of the national executive committee (NEC).


KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Coordinator Sydney Maseko has formally resigned from his position and cited an increased workload. Maseko, who is also a lawyer by profession, said his law firm opened an office in Durban, and, therefore, the workload doubled up, forcing him to relinquish his duties at SWALIMO. SWALIMO claims to be the most followed political party in and country and Maseko’s appointment as KZN Coordinator was part of the organisation’s plan to increase their footprint in Africa. Political parties such as the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) in South Africa used the same method of planting branches and franchising their name in countries such as Namibia and Eswatini.

However, when called to confirm Maseko’s resignation, the NEC had a contradicting version and avoided a direct response on whether it was true that Maseko had resigned. Secretary General (SG) Futhi Msibi said SWALIMO adopted their new constitution, which abolished the positions of provincial coordinators and gave way to district executive committees (DEC).

Abolished

She stated that their position as an organisation was that the former KZN Coordinator was an active member of the organisation and was still serving on their legal team. Msibi said the positions of coordinators were interim posts, and they were meant to be abolished as soon as the constitution was adopted. She said the positions were enacted for the purpose of establishing branches in South Africa (SA). “The coordinator is still an active SWALIMO member and serves on the legal committee of the movement. Our adopted constitution no longer has Provincial Coordinators in the structure (these were interim structures to establish the SA branches), so they were dissolved. We now have national and external district executive committees in our constitution. External DECs refer to KZN, Gauteng, Mpumalanga, and the United Kingdom (UK). The now-former KZN coordinator currently serves on our legal team,” said Msibi.

On the contrary, Maseko said he was not aware that his position had been dissolved when he tendered his formal resignation. He said he was aware that the positions were temporary, but nothing was communicated to him regarding the new developments. He stated that it was a resolution that was communicated to them that their positions would be substantively filled after the organisation’s first national conference. SWALIMO is expected to host its first general conference in November 2024, as per a resolution made when the organisation was formed that their inaugural congress would be 36 months from November 2021.

Disbanded

“I am a very honest person. My version slightly differs from that of the SG, but I think I will engage her. I’m not aware of the entire version of the new constitution because, by the time it was adopted, I had resigned. I don’t even have a copy of it. I, therefore, would not comment on the current constitutional dispensation.“After I stepped down, I was engaged by the organisation, and I asked for some time to reflect and reconsider my stance. I haven’t had that time since I’m heavily engaged at my workplace. I am aware that all structures were in place until the first national conference.
“I’m not aware that provincial coordinators were separately provisional and were to be disbanded at the adoption of an interim constitution. My not being aware cannot be blamed on any leader, but I think I should be blamed for being ignorant of this important aspect. However, if this is a provision of the constitution, then I’m correct to say I am not aware because I was no longer involved when it was finalised,” he said.

Maseko further noted that, though it was correct that all structures were for the interim until the national conference, he was not aware that the provision was for external regions only. He stated that he was not a member of the legal team, hence he was not involved when the constitution was finalised. He said if the version of the SG was correct, he was supposed to have been a part of the final version of the constitution. “I have been serving in the legal team and in the KZN Coordinator position before the constitution. There is no new deployment on this. I am glad, though, because your inquiry has made me aware that the post of coordinator has been abolished. Which means even if I had not stepped down, I was not going to be holding any position, and I’m mindful that I’m not after such.

Supporting

“That’s why you will still see me defending the organisation, even without a portfolio. I hope the above puts the matters into their appropriate perspective as far as your inquiry is concerned. I remain committed to supporting all the policies of the organisation. I promote and defend them, but the only difference is that I don’t have any input internally. I also learn of them in public like everyone else, and that shows the depth of the organisation’s manpower and wisdom,” he said. Maseko said the organisation was doing well on the ground and that his only hope was for democracy to be attained. He noted that SWALIMO needed the support of all members and encouraged them to play their role in the promotion and protection of the organisation.

“I was not aware that the position had been dissolved and the new constitution had been adopted. It had nothing to do with the abolishment. I will qualify this by reiterating that all structures are temporal until reviewed by the conference. Also, my duty was to ensure SWALIMO has a structure in KZN, and I did that. I believe I fulfilled my mandate. So those who want to have a political life must proceed from where I’ve left; I’ve left a stable structure. Despite the fact that we were infiltrated by some organisation that planted people to destabilise us, we endured, and the counter-revolutionary forces were uprooted from our branch,” he said.

He mentioned that he was going to remain a backbencher in the organisation and that he still believed in its course and values. He subsequently confirmed that the post of coordinator no longer existed within the organisation. Maseko said he verified the information with the NEC, and it became apparent that even if he had not resigned, he would still not be holding any position following the adoption of the constitution. “Please also take note that I do have an input when I have been requested by the leaders. So I hope this will not be treated as one of those issues of former leaders who become bitter at the organisation. You will understand that I am a professional and that I take my work very seriously. My workload since March has increased, and I did furnish the organisation with specific reasons; hence, there was an engagement. My strong association with the organisation has led me to be insulted and ridiculed publicly. I have endured this, but I think it also influenced my decision,” he said.

Maseko has been one of the most vocal members of the NEC on social media, and he has defended the movement on many occasions. The mass democratic movement has also celebrated him for simplifying the law for them on Facebook.

Influential

He is not the first member to resign from the political movement since 2021. Influential members, such as Shiselweni Regional Executive Committee (REC) Chairman, Mbekezeli Mdabula Zulu, resigned citing an increased workload. Zulu has since disappeared into the shadows of the struggle, after assisting in the formation of SWALIMO. Former Lubombo REC Chairman Mzwakhe Myeni also resigned after a public-fallout with President Mduduzi ‘Gawuzela’ Simelane. Myeni has since changed tune and said he regrets ever being part of the mass democratic movement.

Other leaders who resigned and ended up forming their own political party include former National Chairperson Busi Mayisela, former SG Dr Siphetfo Dlamini, former DSG Gift Dlamini, former DSG2 Phephile Ndzinisa, and youth leader Sihle Nkhabanhle. They are all part of the Swazis First Democratic Front (SFDF), led by Mayisela.SWALIMO has since launched its election manifesto, in which they aim to field candidates in the upcoming national elections in order to fight for democracy from within Parliament.