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We speak truth to power


Opinion: The end is now for our politics

Our Columnist Dr. Sikelela Dlamini has come under fire for suggesting that Ndumiso Mamba’s resignation as Minister for Justice & Constitutional Affairs had nothing to do with his public duties. NHLANGANISO DLAMINI of Lobamba hits back and argues that Mamba’s fall from grace had a huge public interest attached to it and nothing to do with victimization. He slams at Dr. Dlamini for even suggesting that the fallen minister’s private shenanigans should not have forced him to dispose himself from public service

I will first recall that fateful announcement made in Mbabane to the effect that Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Ndumiso Mamba has resigned both as a Cabinet Minister and Senator.

His resignation was announced at a brief press conference by the Prime Minister Barnabas Sibusiso Dlamini at the Cabinet offices.

NdumisoMambaThe PM, who was accompanied by the Deputy Prime Minister, Themba Masuku, and other high ranking government officials, announced that Mamba resigned following certain allegations circulating in the country and internationally.

I respect intelligent people and Dr. Sikelela Dlamini is extremely intelligent. One easily gauges the level of his intelligence through his writings.

However, Dr. Dlamini should know that whilst Mamba presumably had a private life, but by virtue of the position he held, his private life became public property.

The Minister for Justice Constitutional Affairs in Swaziland was not an ordinary person, but a high profile public figure whose character absolutely mattered to all of us. A politician of Mamba’s standing should have been of high moral standing.

Not even Dr. Dlamini has a right to separate Mamba’s private life from his public persona, as those eventually crossed.

It is against this background that I am disappointed that the learned doc fails to realize that when a public official is hit with a scandal of a personal nature, his immediate reaction is to run away and hide, and in the Mamba’s debacle, one can only thank God that he saw it fit to tender in his own resignation.

Dr Dlamini is a student of politics and he is definitely conversant with two codes of the law, namely credibility and moral authority.

Richard Nixon, former USA president had to step down because he had lost credibility with the American people. Nixon had lost his moral authority to lead the nation.

Dr. Dlamini also knows of the Profumo Affair a 1963 British political scandal named after John Profumo, Minister of State for War.

His affair with Christine Keller, the reported prostitute of an alleged Russian spy, followed by his lying to parliament when questioned about it, forced Profumo’s resignation and badly damaged the reputation of Prime Minister Harold MacMillan’s government.

Similarly, Mamba occupied the revered high office of Minister for Justice & Constitutional Affairs in the country. He should have been above suspicion and should have set high moral standards, not anything contrary that forced the Prime Minister to announce his resignation, and in turn had a demoralizing effect on the younger generation.

At the same time I understand where Dr. Dlamini comes from. His views are shaped by the true nature of Swazi politicians. Here one is talking of a group of selfserving individuals, with the self-serving interest being to fulfill their own ambitions. Politicians in Swaziland are not there to serve the public, they are there because they think they are important, they think they are entitled to power and they crave power.

It is a fact that powerful people take advantage of their positions and very often use sex to exercise their power. Not so long ago, a Cabinet Minister in Swaziland was caught with his pants down, but unfortunately did not resign in the public interest.

A woman minister was also brazen enough to brag that she was once married to a married man! So it is true that if a person is a low life in their private dealings, they will eventually show it in their professional life.

Swaziland is also a country where bad things happen to good people. I do not want to pretend to know why Senior Superintendent, Tom Dlamini, was abruptly removed as aide-de-camp to the member of His Majesty’s Close Protection Unit.

There is also the pathetic case of selfserving parliamentarians’ wives who agitate to form their own association to monitor their husbands’ infidelities, as opposed to actively engaging themselves in poverty alleviating programs to uplift their impoverished communities.

Lack of moral character and personality traits will cost us dearly in Swaziland. I am not a prophet of doom, but time will tell!

Whether the doc likes it or not, Mamba’s character as Senator and Minister for Justice & Constitutional Affairs mattered because he was supposed to have impeccable exemplary qualities.

MambanNdlovuMamba was not just a cabinet minister, but as a senator he was accountable to the people he represented. His character was therefore expected in that capacity to constitute honesty and integrity.

It is absolutely preposterous for any politician who is supposed to be regarded as an epitome of moral values to indulge in despicable behavior. What would Dr. Dlamini make if someone with a moral crisis is suddenly thrust in a position of power?

Prince Masitsela once boasted that they are closer to God! We therefore expect them to show the light as they are entrusted with national confidence.

Anything shot of uprightness is unacceptable. When Mamba accepted a public position, he became a mirror through which the Swazi society was measured. It was therefore undeserving not to have been above board.

Mamba’s resignation is not a unique and isolated incident. History is littered with recent examples of sex used as a barometer for judging political appropriateness for office.

Would Dr. Dlamini still argue that the following high profiled resignations had nothing to do with their public duties?

CNN reported in Washington, DC that Republican Christopher Lee of New York resigned his House seat following a report that the married congressman had tried to meet a woman on Craiglist.

In a statement Lee said: “I regret the harm that my actions have caused my family and constituents.”

The speed of Lee’s resignation indicated a culture of zero-tolerance by the house for potentially controversial behavior.

Turkish politician quits over sex scandal: The leader of Turkey’s secular main opposition party has resigned as chairman over a sex scandal; days after a secretly-taped video circulated on the Internet showing he was having an affair with a lawmaker.

Australian MP resigns over sex scandal: A married Australian politician, David Campbell has resigned from his role as Transport Minister for New South Wales after it was revealed that he used a ministerial car to visit a gay sex club in Sidney.

Liberian minister resigns over sex scandal: Liberia top government minister, Willis Knuckles has resigned over a sex scandal, the president announced. 

A local newspaper printed graphic pictures of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s senior minister having sex with two women.

A BBC correspondent said people in the West African nation have been shocked by the scandal.

The president said she regretted Knuckle’s resignation, but could not condone improper behavior.

Sex scandal costs Dutch defence deputy minister his job: Deputy Defence Minister Jack de Vries has stepped down. Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende accepted his letter of resignation.

Jack de Vries was caught up in a sex scandal a rare phenomenon in Dutch politics. He admitted to having an affair with a junior member of his staff, which led to his wife throwing him out of their house. He has been sleeping in a military barracks since.

Sex intrigues in Malaysian Politics: Malaysian politics are sizzling with sex intrigues and scandalous lies. A few months ago a government minster resigned after admitting he was the person caught in a videotape having sex with a young woman in a hotel. The video was uploaded on the Internet. 

Top Kashmiri minister Omar Abdulah resigns over underage sex racket claims: The leading elected politician in Indian Kashmir resigned over allegations hat he was involved in a sex trafficking and underage prostitution racket.  

Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, the top official in the disputed territory, was accused of featuring on a list of influential men who allegedly benefitted from a sex ring used by the Indian political elite.

A message for Dr. Dlamini: If Ndumiso Mamba could not handle his private affairs; then Swazis could not have truly expected him to handle political ones. Unless our legislators are grounded in morality, even the best of laws would be broken with impunity and the worst of laws would be made legalizing immorality.

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