Times of Swaziland
13 January 2009
Dissolve cabinet and parliament
MBABANE – Progressive groups and unions want cabinet and parliament to be dissolved and an interim government constituted.
A petition to this effect was yesterday delivered to the Prime Minister, Sibusiso Barnabas Dlamini’s office, by slightly over 100 members of the progressive formations under the Swaziland United Democratic Front (SUDF) banner.
As is normally the case, the eight-page petition was accepted by Chief Security Officer Patin Nxumalo who promised to forward it to the head of government.
The SUDF said the dissolution was a prerequisite for genuine dialogue between government and civil society.
Constitutionally, only the king has the powers to dissolve both cabinet and parliament.
After the dissolution, the SUDF said a broad-based representative national convention shall be set up to oversee the transitional process and provide the institutional capacity for continued governance of the country.
"The national convention shall prescribe the period for the negotiation process and also the interim authority," said unionist Jan Sithole when delivering the petition.
The convention shall be inclusive of political parties, political organisations, civil society, women’s organisations, labour organisations, youth organisations, traditional institutions, the church and many other interested groups.
The SUDF said dialogue was the only way through which the country’s problems could be solved thus the Premier should revive the exercise which was once undertaken by the previous government.
"Not only should such talks just be between the NCA and government, but be all encompassing so that the process is as inclusive as possible, as transparent as possible and as accountable to the people as possible so that it enjoys ownership and full legitimacy," the petition states.
The talks are to be facilitated by independent groups from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in collaboration with the African Union (AU).
Other prerequisites for the dialogue include abrogating section 79 of the constitution, unbanning of political parties, enjoyment of fundamental rights and freedoms, registration and regulation of political parties.
Others include the unconditional return and indemnification of all political exiles and preventing royalty from hindering the negotiation process.
Government is yet to respond to the petition and no ultimatum was set by the progressives.
The march to deliver the petition was attended by the leadership and members of the Swaziland Youth Congress, the People’s United Democratic Movement, the Ngwane National Liberatory Congress, the Swaziland Nurses Association, the Swaziland National Association of Teachers and the Swaziland Federation of Trade Unions.