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IS SENATOR LINDIWE OUR PHUNYUKA BEMPHETHE?

By Kenneth Dlamini | 2020-11-22

Of the Seven Wonders of the World, I have been to two; the Taj Mahal in India and the Great Wall of China.

Of course, it remains in my Bucket List so long as I live on planet Earth to accomplish the remaining five.

Speaking of which, I’m reminded that there’s now the ‘Eighth Wonder of the World’ or is it for Eswatini?

Senator Pastor Lindiwe Dlamini, who is Senate President, must be the ‘Eighth Wonder of the World’.  Dear reader, you must be wondering how this woman of God has managed to bag such acclaim.

It must be a wonder how the dear pretty pastor, who so often than not is caught on the wrong side of the law, has steered clear of being brought to answer for her troubles.

The way the former minister dribbles her way out of trouble in Lionel Messi-esque has to be stuff of legends.

But again, you have to be Pastor Lindiwe to continue evading trouble in this country no matter how many times your name continues to be plastered with all kinds of dirt.

refused

How the Senate president blatantly refused and openly spited the scarecrow Public Accounts Committee (PAC) with such verve and aplomb is out of this world.

Not just that; despite her open defiance she has surprisingly managed to stay out of trouble. That is exactly how I came to the conclusion that she must be the eighth wonder.

Politically, we know Patsor Lindiwe has been through a lot and can rightfully lay claim that she’s no novice.

She’s been to battlegrounds where she’s emerged battered and bruised but still came out her old pretty self.

We recall that the former minister of public works and transport was early this year summoned to appear before the same PAC to explain her role in the stalled Sicunusa-Nhlangano road project, which has cost government hundreds of millions.

However, what did she do - she plainly threw the rule book out of the window – telling the astounded PAC straight in the face that she would not appear before the committee.

And, what happened – nothing.

Her actions not only undermined the meticulous work done by the PAC in bringing public figures and institutions to account for state funds but watered down the country’s efforts in getting to the bottom of what really transpired at such a huge project.

As a result, this gigantic project that promised to change the face of the country remains just a pipe dream.

Not only that the very same Lindiwe, having successfully defied the PAC, was again summoned to appear before the same committee over the Sikhuphe housing project mess.

Obviously, feeling a bit pumped up after her actions went unpunished the first time around the former minister was at it again as she spat on the faces of the PAC officials and showed them utter disrespect by refusing to appear before the committee.  This was after an official from the Eswatini Civil Aviation Authority (ESWACAA) who appeared before the committee had implicated the former minister of having put undue pressure on former Director General Solomon Dube to award a tender for the housing project to an Egyptian company, which did a shoddy job.

The said housing unit project developed serious problems, with some units falling apart.

As a result, ESWACAA is contemplating demolishing the houses which cost government in excess of E6 million. Again, millions of government funds washed down the drain, just like that.

The same Lindiwe was recently embroiled in a bitter dispute with former Clerk to Parliament Ndvuna Dlamini.

dumped

It is history now that whatever quarrel they had didn’t end well for Ndvuna, who was hurried out of his job like a thief. He was dumped at the dustbin of history (ministry of agriculture), where all those that have been used and spat by the system are dumped. Again, another landslide victory for Lindiwe – you have to say.  This came after the PAC cited a report by the auditor general which indicated that Parliament had overspent by over E321 880 on CTA vehicle charges, which was an over-expenditure of 25 per cent.  The same report also highlighted over-expenditure by over E880 825 on external travels. It also quotes the controlling officer having complained that Lindiwe was a stumbling block in his bid to control state funds when it comes to her travels and vehicles. The report further portrays Lindiwe as having threatened and bullied the controlling officer for reporting her.  She was also described as a person fond of travelling to New York in the United States of America. Seriously.

The report further highlights that Prime Minister Ambrose Mandvulo Dlamini was informed about the uncontrollable Lindiwe in his capacity as minister of parliamentary affairs.

The PM reportedly promised to deal with the matter, and that’s all there is to it…just a promise by the PM.

Poor Mandvulo. Lindiwe is too hot a potato for him to handle. She’s in a different league that woman. As a result, the PM did nothing and has not done anything up to now; hence the PAC asked for a report from him about the matter within 30 days.

Maybe it’s not even correct to say the PM did nothing because the inhumane nature of Ndvuna’s transfer could be the result of what he had to do – under the circumstances.

I have to say I cringed when reading the PAC report about this woman’s escapades; this is stuff of the movies.

How can one person be responsible for so much destruction and devastation of state resources?

And, yet get away scot free. No, that’s putting it mildly. She didn’t get away scot free but she was not even called to account for any of her costly blunders that have put the country in a huge financial mess.

This is the same country that resorted to belt-tightening owing to serious implications of the COVID-19. This is the same country that barely manages to keep things moving due to financial strain.

Then we have a Senate president who is behaving like a spoilt brat and trying to prove that she’s above reproach.

But that’s not what worries me the most – in fact, the biggest concern for me is where does Lindiwe get all the guts to defy state organs entrusted to bring everyone accountable?

cold feet

What does it say about the PAC? That it is some useless toothless bulldog that can be defied by anyone?

It’s high time Pastor Lindiwe was dealt with to remove these imaginary powers she’s suddenly assumed. That is why I miss former PAC Chairperson Thuli Dladla in such circumstances.

I know she would have had the final say on the cocky Lindiwe. She would have definitely brought her to book.

Current PAC Chairman Phila Buthelezi has suddenly developed cold feet in the position. Get it right, I have always said I liked Phila, especially that young unassuming MP who ruffled a few feathers in his first term.

He appeared to have a bright future as a politician. He even at one time stood toe to toe with former PM Sibusiso Dlamini.

I thought he was going to show that kind of grit when he was appointed chairman of the PAC. But he’s grown weak.

It is people like Pastor Lindiwe that water down government’s efforts to be transparent, accountable and responsible to its citizens. Their actions weaken the system of governance.

This kind of wayward and irresponsible behaviour by people in authority sends investors and potential ones into panic mode, wondering if there’s a country where an individual, apart from Their Majesties, wields so much power and influence. It renders the country ungovernable.

So, in short if His Majesty King Mswati III trusts the people he appointed to lead the current government, then they should be allowed to work with independence.

The independence I’m referring to is being able to weed out bad elements like Pastor Lindiwe without looking left, right and centre to see if they are doing the correct thing.

Such people take advantage of the system and throw confusion by assuming powers they don’t have.

This country must be seen not protecting bad elements that are carelessly depleting state funds.

So, Pastor Lindiwe must be brought to book for her actions no matter the time it takes.

She must appear before the PAC to explain herself and clear her name of all wrong-doing. Someone must step in and show Lindiwe that she’s not untouchable.

Otherwise, we will refer to her as our own version of “Phunyuka Bemphethe”.

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