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MP Mabuza and his friends had other things in mind

The scenes of the Hosea Member of Parliament Bacede Mabuza being ‘assisted’ into a police kombi on the morning of his arrest tell altogether on intriguing picture of not just the week’s events, but that too of our politics.

According to Eswatini Observer, Just a fortnight earlier, the MP was boisterous when he and his cronies in parliament surprised the opposing camp in throwing out the cannabis bill. By doing this, the MP and his friends ripped the script apart on what had been some kind of formality, the rubberstamping of a bill seen as a necessary evil in turning the country’s economic fortunes around.

MP Mabuza and his friends had other things in mind. This was the same script they repeated in challenging the Prevention of organised crime act (POCA) in parliament, successfully moving a motion calling for amendments of the Act, an altogether controversial move that has polarised parliament as much as it has the rest of society.

In this short period, the MP has been at the forefront; vehement, if not firm, in turning the otherwise normal state of our politics around.

This, until, there was a need to fill the vacant position of the senate position left vacant by the shocking death of former Senator Mike Temple (Penny for his thoughts as he rests in peace). Up until then, MP Mabuza was the man of the moment, pulling the strings as he pleased in parliament. True to form, he threw his brother into the fray.

Perhaps here, we need to pause and reflect for a few seconds. What was it that made Mabuza and his camp decide that his younger brother should enter the domain of politics? What motivated his nomination for a seat in Senate, when young Mabuza has spent his time minding his good own business,  pun intended?

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What was it that he whave bought to the table, for a man who seems to be comfortable in the shadow more than he would have been in the glare of the spotlight of politics – even if in the Senate?

Mbongeni Mbingo from Eswatini Observer wrote last week on their publication that the delay in the election raised more questions than answers, leaving them to reachtheir own conclusion as to why the police would want to scrutinise everything they could find along the way to lead to Sifiso Mabuza – the overwhelming favourite.

Not surprisingly, therefore, Sifiso Mabuza’s name was conspicuous by its omission when it was time to cast the vote on Wednesday, followed by the dramatic events of his disqualification from the election race as well as the arrest of his brother, earlier that morning.

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This subplot tells a story of its own, if not that politics remains a very dirty and complex business. If the Mabuza brothers did not know this, then perhaps today, they do. MP Mabuza would not have seen the events of Wednesday morning happening – especially not after the generous donation of food hampers worth E170 000 to the Prince Majaha Foundationa day or two earlier. Not, it turns out, after the last ditch attempt by his brother to stall the elections by running to court to challenge the revoking of the tax clearance by the Eswatini Revenue Authority.

All of these things of course pail into insignificance when compared with MP Mabuza’s own showing, if at all, on Wednesday morning when the police paid him a visit to ask him to accompany them – in their own car – to the police station.

“This was as surprising as unexpected turn of events. But this was also a very loud statement – from who, do not ask me. Your guess is as good as mine!” Said Mbingo on his statement.

But, it is telling, that MP Mabuza – of all the people – became the centre of attraction in the week he would have hoped to introduce his younger brother onto the political stage – perhaps making a statement of his own. In this week that he would have ticked off a box of his own to the greater skelem that he probably had, it turned out, he had a date with the police, which ended with him spending the night in a police cell.

Mbingo had also pointed out last week, the senate election had already been tainted the moment the political stalwart that is Ngom’uyayona Gamedze appeared to live by his name when he blew the whistle on the seat being sold to the highest bidder. The subsequent postponement should not have been surprising, especially given the reason behind it.

And perhaps, therefore, it should not have been surprising that the person who picked up all the spoils was a man who was neither a front runner nor a popular choice at the beginning. Jimmy Hlophe was merely there to benefit from the spoils of a war that was orchestrated somewhere else, by people who would have not seen him a threat.

He ended up a victor in a race he was never going to win, on a day that the leading frontmen were fighting to remain relevant in the race.

There is a lot more to Wednesday morning’s drama and MP Mabuza’s arrest than this being about politics. At its simplest, this may be about MP Mabuza having bitten off a lot more than he can chew, and in a very short space of time.

But, in a larger context, this may be what MP Mabuza represent in the murky world of our politics – a brand new threat. The past month should form that picture all too clearly for all to see, if they bother to look.

This MP and those around him – perhaps those who trekked to the Mbabane Police Station on the day of his arrest – represents a brand new politics and polity – fearless and arrogant in knowing what they want and going out to get it.

They are the new voice in parliament; they stand for a new vibrancy in the politics, in that they are willing to go the extra mile.

Perhaps when we view this from that context, we will understand why Sifiso Mabuza could emerge from nowhere to amass 24 votes for a mere nomination, and the sheer arrogance of that being the message for those whom it was intended – so what!

Perhaps if we look at it from this prism, it will make sense why MP Mabuza suddenly finds himself inside a kombi full of police officers who are not intimidated by the crisp fabric of his suit, nor the stature of the previous few months.

The officers inside that kombi were as arrogant as his attitude to those who stand before him. When that happens, we know that there was a message that was to be sent out by this arrest – and from it, the MP may now know that within a flicker, the ground from which we stand moves. Ever so slightly.

What time will now reveal in our eyes is if the MP and his cohorts have received the massage. This article was fully extracted from Eswatini Observer and was well written by Mbongeni Mhingo the media editor.

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