LOBAMBA – ‘Lobamba Lomdzala MP Marwick Khumalo must be disqualified as a Member of Parliament’.
This is according to a Motion without Notice which Hosea MP Bacede Mabuza attempted to move in the House of Assembly yesterday. However, the MPs voted against the debating of the motion, with a vote of 36 – 7.
The motion to oust the longest serving MP was the last business of the day during yesterday’s sitting and was included in the second addendum Order Paper that was presented to the MPs.
Procedurally, a Motion without Notice is voted for by the House before being debated.
According to the proposed Motion No 18/2020, MP Bacede wanted to move that the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Pholile Shakantu, through the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC), disqualify MP Khumalo on several grounds.
The motion was expected to be seconded by Maseyisini MP Mduduzi Small Joe Dlamini, who is the former minister of Tinkhundla Administration and Development.
One of the grounds for MP Khumalo’s disqualification, according to the motion, was that Section 96 and 97 of the Constitution Act of 2005 provided the mandatory qualification to stand for election of an MP and disqualification for such.
It reads that among the qualification imposed under any law in force in Eswatini was that relating to general elections. The motion stated that this was the spirit of Section 97 (1) (e). It further stated that the Elections Act No 10 of 2013 was the law contemplated by Section 97 (1) (c) of the Constitution. “Section 88 of the Elections Act applies to the honourable member in that he was charged with an offence mentioned under the Prevention of Corruption Act No 3 of 2006,” reads the motion.
The motion further stated that the mechanism specified under Section 88 was also counterproductive because the time limit specified under the section had long passed.
It further stated that the 12-month period set out under Section 88 of the Elections Act No 10 of 2013 had long elapsed and this omission could not be remedied at the lapse of 12 months. It was submitted that the Act under Section 88 (3) made it mandatory that the MP be disqualified by operation of the national law. Minister Shakantu was further called to, through the EBC; implement the mandatory provisions of the Act without favour or partiality.
The motion had further sought to direct the minister to carry out the aforementioned within 48 hours of adoption of the motion.
However, when the MPs tossed out the motion, MP Mabuza asked that the Speaker count the numbers of those who had voted for and against the debating of the motion.
It was then that only seven of the members stood for the debating of the motion while the 36 others voted against it. It remains unknown whether the motion will be included in the next Order Paper as a motion of privilege. MP Khumalo was arrested in 2013 on corruption-related charges allegedly regarding handling of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Swaziland (Eswatini) branch. The matter has not been heard by the High Court to date.
Meanwhile, MP Mabuza and MP Khumalo have had run-ins during debates in the House of Assembly. This is not the first time that MP Mabuza has raised the issue of an MP who did not qualify to be a member of the House because of criminal charges levelled against him. However, he did not mention the name of the legislator then.