Eswatini Daily News
An Illustration of the women who won in the Secondary Elections.

By Sifiso Sibandze

HISTORIC! It is the first time in the history of Eswatini politics to record a considerable number of women in Parliament. The concluded Eswatini National Elections saw eight women, about 13.5 per cent emerging victorious over men in different constituencies.

The women who made history are Nokuthula Dlamini of Mseyisini Inkhundla, Shawnette Henwood of Shiselweni I Inkhundla, Lomalanga Dlamini from Mangcongco inkhundla, Nomkhosi Masuku of Ludzeludze Inkhundla, Zanele Mashaba of Lomahasha Inkhundla, Jane Mkhonta from Mbabane west Inkhundla, Nomalungelo Simelane of Siphofaneni Inkhundla and Sibongile Mamba of Mtsambama Inkhundla.

Former Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Pholile Shakantu extended heartfelt congratulations to the exceptional women who emerged victorious in the recent elections. “These women have showcased exemplary leadership, dedication, and the ability to inspire positive change in our society,” Shakantu said.

The former minister went on to say that as women, they are proud to recognize and celebrate the achievement of more female candidates as MPs. “Their victories mark a significant milestone in our nation’s democratic progress. It has not been an easy journey for most of them. I admire their courage and tenacity in running for office.”

In Shakantu’s observation, by taking the responsibility of representing their constituencies in parliament, as Indvuna Yenkhundla and Bucopho, these women have not only shattered glass ceilings but also paved the way for countless others to follow in their footsteps.

Shakantu said the victory of these women sends a strong message “that our nation is committed to fostering an inclusive political landscape where the voices of all citizens are heard and represented.” She went on to say that the diversity of parliament is vital in ensuring that every voice, regardless of gender, is given the platform it deserves and that the decision-making process resonates with the values and aspirations of our diverse society.

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The former minister said Women make history as 7 emerge victorious, win Parliament seats their victories demonstrate that barriers are meant to be overcome and that gender should never be an impediment to achieving success.

“I thank all those who voted for women. We now have to support them in their new assignments,” she said.
According to an EBC 2018 report, the commission noted that when reflecting on the previous elections (2008 and 2013), there was a considerable decline in the election of women MPs.

Whereas in the 2008 election, a total of seven female MPs won seats in Parliament, only one in 2013 and two in 2018 elections made it to Parliament. However, for the Indvuna Yenkhundla category, a positive result was realised. This was reflected in that, six, five and eight women won in 2008, 2013 and 2018 election years respectively.

The report emphasised that there was a need to continue to promote gender parity in political and electoral processes. In the 10th Parliament, we only had Esther Dlamini from Mbabane East. The situation improved in the 11th Parliament which had two, those being Thandi Motsa and Lady Mabuza.

In 2018, the country’s authorities enforced the election of regional women MPs. This was done per the Election of Women Members to the House of Assembly Act (2018) aimed to give effect to Section 86 of the 2005 National Constitution to increase the participation and representation of women in politics.

The Women’s Caucus in Parliament initiated the legislation to enforce the Constitutional provisions in the 2018 elections. The Act provides for the election of women members to the House of Assembly where, after any general election, it appears that the female members of Parliament will constitute less than 30 per cent of the total membership of Parliament.

One of the female MPs, Ludzeludze MP, Nomkhosi Masuku promised to continue serving the people of her constituency during her term of office. The 64-year-old female legislator said this following her victory in the secondary elections.

Masuku emerged victorious with 2888 votes ahead of the second-placed Mbuso Mvubu who got 2543 votes.
Coming third was Donald Jele with 1987 votes while Vusi Swali came fourth with 1029 votes.

“I would like to thank the people from Ludzeludze for having faith in my leadership skills from the nomination exercise up to the second elections. I will continue to be the servant of the people in Parliament by listening to their concerns and further work towards improving the lives of the entire Ludzeludze residents,” she said.
Masuku further revealed that she had been doing philanthropy work before she was nominated for the hot seat.

“I have been helping needy children with food and school fees. I will continue assisting during my reign as an MP,” she said.

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