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When a minister behaves like an excited schoolboy

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WHATEVER had gotten into the head of Information, Communication and Technology Minister Dumisani Ndlangamandla during the last breakfast session between Prime Minister Sibusiso Dlamini and editors, was somewhat nothing out of the ordinary, given where the former comes from.

WHATEVER had gotten into the head of Information,  Communication and Technology Minister Dumisani Ndlangamandla during the last breakfast session between Prime Minister Sibusiso Dlamini and editors, was somewhat nothing out of the ordinary, given where the former comes from.

Basking in the glory of borrowed power, this minister found it opportune to stand up and lambast the local media for reporting negatively about government as though the media was in the business of kissing up to those entrusted with the mammoth responsibility of good governance even when their competencies are found wanting. 

The witted  prime minister was quick to observe that one of his charges had begun straying and put the record straight that the media in Swaziland covered both positive and negative aspects of his private and public life. 

Surprisingly on the very same day there was the hot substance, where he was the author, whereby the country was reeling from internet glitches but what seemed to excite him was that there were certain journalists who had made it their habit to always look for the bad in government and report about it. 

“Some of them when they call you, you already know they want to ask you about something negative about the government.” 

However he forgot that the educated public that is served by the media is better equipped with information about bad and good governance all through the media and that it is only people like the minister who believe in shoving their failures and shame under the carpet and pretend that to be good governance.  

We would have expected that the first person to know the purpose of the Fourth Estate is the very minister of (dis)information. While the world over is grappling with facilitating information dissemination to its publics for informed decisions, this minister is gagging even the representative of the populace in the decision making process, the Members of Parliament.

questions

Ndlangamandla, a smart aleck of sorts, was attempting to duck important and burning questions from the media about the shambled state of information, communications and technology in the country as evidenced by the struggles his ministry is going through in attempting the basics of all technological transformation – digital migration. 

All we know about the status of digital migration is a cocktail of hiccups starting with failure to meet deadlines despite funding being made available in time for all countries to migrate by June 17, 2015. 

hoodwink

What also made this minister feel the wisest in the hood is his ability to hoodwink Members of  Parliament into having them distribute set top boxes at their various Tinkhundla, work that should have otherwise been undertaken by his ministry.

After he saw that MPs could be easily pulled by the nose, he banned them from accessing state broadcasters and it was only then that they began to understand what sort of mettle he is made, that of steel and they started hitting hard by banning him from parliamentary business. 

To this very day we still wonder whether he has the capacity to solve the ever lingering problems between the Swaziland Posts and Telecommunications and the MTN Swaziland. We do not know if the addition of Swazi Mobile will make things any easier. 

But certainly we know that a relation is having it big at the family toy under his ministry, the Swaziland Communications Commission.The expression that goes ‘I am my brother’s keeper’ bears meaning and relevance here. It is however still early to talk about the relation at this commission.

The first thing he did in his constituency before he fulfilled a promise of supplying stationery to all the schools around Ngudzeni, was to build a security wall complete with boom gates to keep voters away from begging for service delivery, a promise he had made during his campaign days. 

But maybe it is not quite worth all the ink to discuss this character but rather to look at where our politicians, in particular cabinet ministers come from, what they have been doing in our midst to deserve access to so much power as to wield and splash it around as they please.

credentials

 If truth be told, we do not know where our politicians come from, most of them do not possess the credentials necessary to catapult anyone to a position of deciding on behalf of a people. They seem to emerge from some planet so much so that they appear not to be in touch whatsoever with the realities of those they make decisions on behalf of. It is very common in Swaziland to learn that a nobody has woken up to be your leader, clad with all the glitz and glamour of sleek wheels, loads of pay, power and pomp. 

The only other time we get to know where these politicians that have become cabinet material is when the doors to their wardrobe fall off and the skeletons start rolling out – the disappeared Qatar funds, the disappeared street vendors gift to the King, the disappeared E11 million from Manzini municipality, and above all this the media is expected to look very closely into extracting any speck that could be converted through sweet words to appear positive or good governance. 

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