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AUDP members in over 2hrs meet with minister

By MANQOBA NXUMALO on January 20,2011

MANZINI- A political party seeks to participate in the 2013 elections and has since met Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, David Matse, to present its case and call for the registration of parties.

The African United Democratic Party (AUDP) Secretary General, Sibusiso Dlamini and his party’s Political Commissar, Mxolisi Dlamini, on Tuesday met with the minister at his offices where a discussion on the registration of political parties was held.

The minister has confirmed meeting the party and discussing about the party’s proposal to have political parties registered officially.

It was gathered the that AUDP requested government to speed up the process of bringing the Social and Political Association Bill to Parliament so that all political parties could be officially registered so they could contest for elections come 2013.

An excited AUDP Secretary General, Sibusiso Dlamini, said they were more than humbled to meet the minister and discuss their concerns with government.

He claims it lasted from 4.30pm to 7pm.

Dlamini said they told the minister that the judgment in the case of Jan Sithole and others issued by the Supreme Court about two years ago stated that nothing in the Constitution barred political parties from contesting for elections as individuals only for them to regroup once they were inside Parliament.

The case was challenging the issue of participation of parties.

Dlamini said they told Minister Matse that they wanted government to register political parties officially so that they can contest elections in 2013 as individuals in the different Tinkhundla centres and regroup in Parliament. He said they also told the minister that government would have to amend the present Parliament Law so that the party with the majority in Parliament elects the prime minister.

Dlamini said the minister threw the gauntlet to them that they go out to mobilise parliamentarians, traditionalists and the entire Swazi population so that the Bill, in the event it comes, gets the necessary support.

Minister Matse confirmed meeting the AUDP and discussing the registration of political parties.

The minister said Dlamini and his party had made an appointment to see him and on Tuesday he gave them audience.

Matse said before responding to their requests, he would want to first consult with Cabinet.

The AUDP is a break away party from the People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO) and most of its members were members of PUDEMO. Their Secretary General is a former SWAYOCO Manzini region secretary who has been with the banned political party for over eight years.

A few years ago, the AUDP filed an application at the High Court seeking the registration of political parties. They were represented by Advocate Lucas Maziya.

Currently, there are other known underground political parties. These include PUDEMO, the Ngwane National Liberatory Congress (NNLC) and Inhlava.

  The difference between the AUDP and the other political parties is that this party recognises the Tinkhundla system of government and believes this system could be transformed into a fully fledged democracy only if individuals under the banner of a political party could be allowed to contest for elections. The AUDP claims its membership is drawn from influential and high ranking people some of whom hold high government positions. As a strategy, its secretary claims, they do not reveal their members.

Recently, the AUDP requested funding from the Canadian government to the tune of E5 million to help bring their preferred form of democracy into Swaziland.