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MBABANE – The confusion deepens within the mass democratic movement (MDM) as the national elections kicks-off on Wednesday.

Multi-Stakeholder Forum’s (MSF) reaction toward the Political Parties Assembly’s (PPA) neutral position on the election was that the decision by PPA will cause confusion in the MDM.
Secretary General (SG) Sikelela Dlamini said though they respected the PPA as an independent group, they were cognisant of the fact that the organisation’s sentiments highlighted the differences that were existent within the MDM. He said it was true that the position taken by the PPA was going to cause confusion and was proof that the MDM was not moving forward in unison. “The PPA is an independent organisation that is made up of several independent affiliate political parties. We cannot, therefore, comment on their unclear position regarding the elections.


“However, such sentiments highlight the differences that exist within the MDM. But be that as it may, the MDM is resolute in saying that Tinkhudla elections were not democratic and that, it is necessary to fight for a system overhaul to realise the attainment of democracy in our lifetime. Yes, it will cause confusion in that the MDM will not be moving forward in unison,” said Dlamini. He emphasised that the MSF was not a political party and was not driven by any ideology except for embracing democracy as a political system of society that should be put in place in the country to allow political pluralism and participation by citizens in matters of their own governance. Dlamini said their mandate was to open up the political space to allow people to speak freely on their political right to elect office bearers through a transparent system. He stated that they were aware that the election process had begun and that the registration process was starting on Wednesday.


“The majority of our members resolved not to participate in the elections, hence the position and campaign by the MSF in that regard. As an organisation we are only a platform that houses different other organisations that are in pursuit of attaining the objective end of a democratic dispensation. Our stand has been mentioned at all material times. It is the people who need to take proper decisions insofar as participating in the elections is concerned. We have done a lot inasfar as educating emaSwati about the ills of the upcoming elections. That is how far we could go,” he added. PPA Deputy Head of Secretariat Thami Hlatshwayo told the Times SUNDAY that the organisation’s main goal was to attain freedom and democracy for the people of Eswatini. He said they were not particular on the manner in which such a goal was achieved, but encouraged their members to use possible ways to fight the current system.
“As PPA we know that our members want the same goal of freedom for the people. Some want to fight the system from within some want to use external methods while others use strategic litigation. This and many others are all strategies used to fight for the same thing so as an organisation, we are united in our diversity,” he said.


Veteran politician, former minister and MP Mfomfo Nkambule applauded the PPA for their stance and said it was paramount for political parties to make their own decisions regarding the election process. “I am of the view that suddenly this organisation called PPA is waking up and coming to international norms that it cannot do what the international community has been urging political parties to do for some time now. Let us all remember that political parties (by law and practice) do not exist in this country. It has been a standing practice by PPA affiliates never to try and establish a common ground on an issue that is likely to polarise the affiliates,” said the Inhlava chairperson. Nkambule said those who would participate in the elections should be those who care about community development.