See also:
15.10.2010 - Swazi govt tried to underreport hunger
14.05.2010 - Swaziland unionist denied burial
18.02.2010 - UNAIDS chief urges greater AIDS response in Swaziland
02.12.2009 - Swaziland urged to prioritise spending
09.09.2009 - Swaziland media urged to speed up self-regulation process
23.07.2009 - Harsh sentence for abusive Swazi lover
20.03.2009 - Swazi youth accuse SADC of double standards
03.10.2008 - COSATU campaigns for democracy in Zimbabwe and Swaziland











China wholesale online through DHgate.com
Swaziland
Politics | Society

Swaziland's parliament goes on 'strike'

afrol News / IRIN, 9 November - Swaziland's parliamentarians have embarked on an unprecedented stayaway to protest against the Mbabane cabinet's inability to get grants paid to the elderly. MPs also call for the resignation of several government members, which are all appointed by Swaziland's authoritarian King Mswati II.

"These people [cabinet ministers] are well-paid to do some work, but they are doing nothing," said MP Marwick Khumalo during a raucous meeting of the House of Assembly on Wednesday night, when the members of parliament (MPs) gave cabinet one week to start paying out stipends to people aged 60 and over, and voted unanimously to suspend all parliamentary work until then.

Late last month, Health and Social Welfare Minister Njabulo Mabuza blamed budgetary constraints and "technical problems" for the failure to pay grants to widows and the elderly.

Two-thirds of the country's roughly 1 million people live on US$ 2 or less day and many of those aged 60 years or older rely on the government's quarterly pay-out of rand 240 (US$ 32), or rand 80 (US$ 10.50) a month, to subsist, often while bearing the burden of caring for HIV/AIDS orphans.

UNAIDS has put HIV/AIDS prevalence at 33 percent among sexually active adults, the highest in the world. According to the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), by 2010, Swaziland will have over 120,000 orphans.

MP Sibusiso Nkambule, from the Kwaluseni constituency, called for Minister Mabuza to resign; MP Vusi Dlamini, from the Ntfongeni constituency, even called for Prime Minister Themba Dlamini's resignation over the issue.

The MPs' "strike" and brazen calls for resignations represent a rare confrontation between the usually docile elected representatives and the government, which runs the country under the authority of the sub-continent's last absolute monarch.

Parliament consists of MPs elected from 55 constituencies, with an additional 10 MPs appointed by King Mswati personally to safeguard royal interests. The Prime Minister and 17 cabinet ministers are also appointed by the King.

Swaziland's parliament does not create laws, but debates and approves laws tabled by cabinet, while King Mswati sets down government policy at the opening of parliament every February. Little is decided by democratic institutions in the impoverished kingdom.

A new national constitution, signed into law by King Mswati earlier this year, entrenched the political status that has been in force since 1973, when the reigning monarch, King Sobhuza II, overturned a Westminster style constitution - in which political parties contended for power - banned opposition political parties and meetings, and assumed ultimate executive, judicial and legislative authority.

Government promised last week that the social grants would be paid out, and thousands of elderly residents from the capital, Mbabane, and surrounding areas gathered at designated points early on Tuesday morning in the hope of receiving their stipends. By sunset only a few had reportedly been paid.

King Mswati's brother, Prince Guduza Dlamini, who was appointed House Speaker this week, attempted to stall the MPs' stayaway by calling on cabinet to deliver a policy statement on payments to the elderly to parliament. MPs rejected the suggestion as more promises rather than action, and voted to suspend all their activities until Thursday next week.


- Create an e-mail alert for Swaziland news
- Create an e-mail alert for Politics news
- Create an e-mail alert for Society news


 
    Printable version


On the Afrol News front page now

Rwanda
Rwanda succeeds including citizens in formal financial sector

afrol News - It is called "financial inclusion", and it is a key government policy in Rwanda. The goal is that, by 2020, 90 percent of the population is to have and actively use bank accounts. And in only four years, financial inclusion has doubled in Rwanda.
South Sudan | Sudan
Famine warning: "South Sudan is imploding"

afrol News - The UN's humanitarian agencies now warn about a devastating famine in Sudan and especially in South Sudan, where the situation is said to be "imploding". Relief officials are appealing to donors to urgently fund life-saving activities in the two countries.
Guinea
Panic in West Africa after Ebola outbreak in Guinea

afrol News - Fear is spreading all over West Africa after the health ministry in Guinea confirmed the first Ebola outbreak in this part of Africa. According to official numbers, at least 86 are infected and 59 are dead as a result of this very contagious disease.
Ethiopia
Ethiopia tightens its already strict anti-gay laws

afrol News - It is already a crime being homosexual in Ethiopia, but parliament is now making sure the anti-gay laws will be applied in practical life. No pardoning of gays will be allowed in future, but activist fear this only is a signal of further repression being prepared.
Ethiopia
Ethiopia plans Africa's biggest dam

afrol News / Africa Renewal - Ethiopia's ambitious plan to build a US$ 4.2 billion dam in the Benishangul-Gumuz region, 40 km from its border with Sudan, is expected to provide 6,000 megawatts of electricity, enough for its population plus some excess it can sell to neighbouring countries.



front page | news | countries | archive | currencies | news alerts login | about afrol News | contact | advertise | español 

©  afrol News. Reproducing or buying afrol News' articles.

   You can contact us at mail@afrol.com