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“There are different ways to get responsive government leaders but one of the more effective ways is to have them democratically elected - Paul Wolfowitz, American Political Scientist and Diplomat.

Despite having been an independent nation for more than half a century, sadly, as a country, we still exhibit a worrisome deficiency in terms of proficient governance and delivering superior services to the public sector. This is deeply discomfiting and very unsettling. Today’s article will focus on two problems that challenge the incumbent government’s capacity to govern with efficiency and effectiveness. It is well-known that effective governance involves addressing a multitude of issues. One of these is service delivery.

To begin with - as you may have already surmised - the nauseating problem of drug scarcity in healthcare facilities owned by the government remains a pressing concern. As a society, we have exhausted our patience in anticipating that the government will ultimately resolve this issue permanently. Despite the government’s repeated and uncertain commitments to resolve this ongoing issue permanently, it is becoming evident to everyone that the drugs conundrum is either beyond their control - specifically, that of the Ministry of Health, - or the government lacks the political determination of will to eradicate it. Or...worse still, there is something very sinister the public is oblivious of going on behind the scenes. Despite the Ministry of Health’s efforts to reassure the public and address their worries regarding this matter, the actual circumstances on the ground contradict their claims. It is a typical example of ‘empty promises and insufficient or nonexistent action’ - plain and simple.


I recoiled in disgust and embarrassment, and I’m willing to wager all my remaining money that I’m not the only one, after viewing a viral video on various social media sites depicting patients blocking an entrance of a Mbabane Government Hospital to protest the lack of medication! This was undoubtedly one of the most agonizing, and touching events to witness since the drug shortage problem began, which has persisted for as long as I can recall. Previous administrations have failed to convincingly address this critical issue, and the current one which is undoubtedly the worst since our country gained independence more than 50 years ago, has proven now and again that the health of the people is not its priority. It is unfortunate that Minister Lizzy Nkosi and her ministry, respectively, are receiving the majority of public backlash for this issue. Mounting suspicions are that the true perpetrators are using her as a scapegoat. Please give me the honour and privilege to have no other option, but to declare that this administration ilihlazo - a complete ignominious and dishonourable administration.
Let’s be candid here, be brutal with the truth, and tell it as it is: The current administration has proven itself to be an incompetent and callous government not only in the public’s eyes, but even in the eyes of the international community.

In today’s world of instant communication, it is crucial to acknowledge that any event, positive or negative, occurring within a country is swiftly known to the entire world. It is incomprehensible that a government in the 21st century fails to provide even the most fundamental medical care to its people. We cannot claim to have good governance while simultaneously employing archaic methods of governance. This is unacceptable. I might be portraying naivety by the following suggestion: I have the proclivity to propose the idea of outsourcing, if feasible, either the Health Ministry or the ministry tasked with allocating funds for the procurement of medical supplies and equipment for healthcare facilities. Can anyone assign blame to me for suggesting this? For Pete’s sake!

Patients are like being admitted in human abattoirs for slaughter in the country’s hospitals and are dying while politicians are playing egocentric, political games, gambling with the sacred lives of patients. Any government worth its salt prioritises the well-being of a nation. The health of a nation is an extremely crucial matter and there should be absolutely no space whatsoever for political gamesmanship or for individuals to demonstrate their authority in deciding how and where the nation’s resources are allocated. I might be suggesting a preposterous above, and the impossible but, ngitsini ye nabakitsi ngale tiga lesiti bonako kunali live, yemaSwati akitsi? Ibuhlungu lendzaba yekushoda kwe mitsi etibhedla.


We need more action and less talk, as this situation is a ticking time bomb. Without a timely and committed political will to address it, I caution anyone who will listen that it will sooner than later, explode and destroy everything in its path. In Sudan, a revolution arose at the mere increase of the price of bread. Government is certainly testing and stretching the people’s patience. I do not want to say, ‘I told you so.’

Addressing the second issue. The nominations process for potential members of the 12th Parliament, which ended last week, was marred by controversy and proved to be somewhat contentious. This raised concerns from some quarters about the competence and efficiency of the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) in conducting such an important process flawlessly. The comedy of errors left a very bitter taste in some members of the general public and some of those aspiring to be MPs. Without any shadow of doubt, a lot of work needs to be done which includes minimising bureaucratic mishaps, and scrutinising the competency of those employed by the EBC in presiding over such a crucial, national exercise. Leading towards the next crucial stages of the electoral process, there is an urgent need to eliminate any challenges if the elections stand any chance of being pronounced as free and fair. Transparency, competency and integrity in those involved in the whole electoral process is one of the vital prerequisites that will also determine how fair (or not) and free the elections will be.

Let me list some of the glaring discrepancies that were reported by the media in some of the constituencies’ nominations stations. Three aspiring politicians expressed their disappointment after discovering that their names were not on the voters roll during the validation exercise before the start of nominations. The trio had been urged by the electorate to participate in the 2023 General Elections and had hoped to be nominated for the positions of bucopho or indvuna yenkhundla. Despite following all the necessary procedures to correct errors in the first voters roll, one of them discovered during validation that he had been registered under Mbangweni Umphakatsi instead of Mathendele, where he was born and raised. Such mishaps defy logic. One other aspiring MP also had a similar case and expressed his shattered dream of becoming indvuna yenkhundla.


When the nominations started, he allegedly raised his concerns with the presiding officer, who told him to wait for the arrival of some EBC superiors to address his concerns. However, this raised his ire and he  expressed his disappointment with the EBC’s error and the unfairness of the elections. Who is at fault when a voter is registered, but on the day of the momentous occasion failed to find his or her name on the voters rolls or discovers his name appearing in another constituency’s voters roll? Incompetency? Carelessness? A prominent lawyer questioned the fairness of the whole process. He opined that the recent events suggest that the elections are not impartial for some candidates. He was asked about the implications for someone who registered for the general elections but found their name was not on the voters roll. The lawyer explained that while tinkhundla ‘claimed to allow participation as per the Constitution, the recent events showed a different story’. He referred to Sections 77 and 58 of the Constitution, which respectively talk about individual merit and participation at all levels.

He argued that free and fair elections require individuals to register, nominate, or be nominated, and cast their vote. If someone registered but could not find their name on the voters roll, it indicated a lack of impartiality and fairness. The learned friend went on to suggest that those affected could challenge the process in court. He criticised the electoral commission’s incompetence and stated that the recent events were early signs of a lack of impartiality in the upcoming elections. The significance of competency was emphasised earlier in the article, and the aforementioned mistakes deprived candidates of a great opportunity to be selected.


I commend the tactful response of Mbonisi Bhembe, the Communications Officer of EBC, who acknowledged the possibility of such errors occuring and assured that the commission’s office is always open to complaints. Bhembe was addressing a query raised, the above mentioned, three aspiring politicians who were not nominated for the 2023 General Elections as their names were missing from the voters’ roll. He also mentioned that those who faced unresolved issues could escalate their grievances further. Bhembe added that if the complainants had exhausted all avenues for assistance, then it would be a different matter. He expressed optimism that all issues faced by emaSwati during the elections would be resolved amicably.
The country is in dire need of the kind of spirit demonstrated here by Mr Bhembe, rather than the haughty reactions we often receive from certain politicians who frequently refuse to take responsibility for their errors.

Former MP Timothy Myeni who was part of a minority of progressive-minded MPs in the recently dissolved Parliament was prevented from attending and participating the nominations process at Lubulini High School, which is a rather unfortunate occurrence. The deployed police officers cited instructions from the EBC as the reason for barring him. Some believe that there may be underlying motives behind this decision. However, it is possible that this incident could ultimately shed light on the rumours surrounding Myeni’s situation. Myeni contended something to the effect that by virtue of him running a business in the area, he was eligible for nominations. The EBC Act is alleged to state that for a person to qualify to vote or stand for elections under inkhundla and community, he/she should have been a resident of that area for a period not less than three months. Such a waste! Myeni’s vibrancy in Parliament will be missed. He and a couple of other MPs were a nemesis to the administration, kept it on its toes.

In Ezulwini, media reports are to the effect that there was a breach of the Elections Act of 2013 during the nominations of candidates at Ezulwini Royal Kraal last Saturday. It was alleged that more than the number stipulated by the Electoral Act were nominated. Another blot in the credibility of the EBC. Let’s get this straight, bazalwane, free and fair elections are crucial components of democratic societies, providing citizens with the opportunity to choose their leaders and hold them accountable.


They promote political stability, encourage citizen participation and safeguard human rights. Through the electoral process, citizens can express their preferences and beliefs, fostering a culture of active citizenship and creating an environment conducive to economic growth, social cohesion and effective governance. To ensure the integrity of elections, various safeguards must be in place, including independent electoral commissions, robust legal frameworks and international election monitoring. There should not be buhhihhihhi at all costs surrounding the electoral process. A concerted, civic education and media literacy can also empower citizens to make informed choices and actively participate in the electoral process.

As the nation approaches the second stages of the electoral process, it is important to choose future MPs wisely, avoiding those who seek office for personal gain, populism or through political manipulation. By upholding the principles of fairness, transparency, and inclusivity, free and fair elections contribute to the overall progress and development of democratic nations. We all sincerely hope that bureaucratic mishaps, inefficiency, allegations of ulterior motives and lack of competency will not taint the smooth running of the next stages of the elections’ process. Let us all be united in purpose, avoid conflict and work towards making the country achieve a free and fair elections process - and, peace. Once, again.. Choose wisely!
 Peace! Shalom!