The two incarcerated Members of Parliament Bacede Mabuza and Mthandeni Dube have asked Siphofaneni Member of Parliament Mduduzi Simelane not to associate or link them with his newly formed Swaziland Liberation Movement (SWALIMO). They have also asked that going forward anything related to their political views, whether in parliament or outside, Lubulini Member of Parliament Timothy Myeni be the person to speak on their behalf.

The MPs asked that anything related to legal issues or their incarceration their lawyer Sicelo Mngometulu be the go to person. The two Members of Parliament indicated that they welcome support from SWALIMO but feel that at this point they are better positioned to remain outside of any political formation so that they can enjoy support from all political parties and the broader civil society.

SWALIMO, a political party that styles itself as a movement, was formed by Siphofaneni Member of Parliament Mduduzi Magawugawu Simelane. It was launched on Friday 19 November  2021 to much fanfare and excitement. Simelane announced the interim leadership of the party comprising of Secretary General Dr Siphetfo Dlamini and National Chairperson Busi Mayisela.

The party is preparing for an official launch where all office bearers shall be elected in a few months time. Simelane’s party has been well received and is already raking in impressive numbers in just a few days of formation. Simelane was at pains on Friday explaining that the two MPs had not joined SWALIMO but indicated that they had left the door open for them to join.

Some of the members of SWALIMO clad in their merchandise. At the centre is Simelane's wife LaZwide (second from right) and child (second from left)

In fact he even left some vacant positions in his leadership should they want to join the party. The Bridge can now exclusively reveal that even before the launch on Friday Simelane was told to tread carefully around implying, overtly or covertly, that they are part of his movement.

Both Bacede and Mthandeni have confirmed to me that they elect not to be regarded as being part of the Movement, for now. They will determine when, how and with whom they form a structure or associate with once they're out of incarceration or in due course. Having said the above, they are not opposed to you pursuing the struggle in any manner you deem fit (including forming the Movement), neither will they reject any solidarity you may express or demonstrate towards their plight, but this should not be confused with them being part or co-founders of the Movement,” reads a text message sent to Simelane by Mngomezulu on Friday prior to the launch.

Continued the message: “Please take care to ensure that you clarify this during the launch or in any further public pronouncements you will make going forward. This will avoid me having to issue a Public Statement to clarify my Clients' position.” The Bridge understands that the MPs feel they have been working well with all the political parties and civil society and that they are not prepared to be partisan at this point in order not to divide their support.

A source also told The Bridge that the MPs were concerned with the use of their imagery in a way that implies being part of SWALIMO. Mgomezulu said his clients support all the political parties, including SWALIMO,  but want to be under the collective guidance of the broad civil society and that their images must be used with understanding of their position. Mngomezulu was emphatic that they were not disassociating with the party as they had never associated with it in the first place.

Sicelo Mngomezulu, attorney for the two incarcerated members of parliament Mthandeni Dube and Bacede Mabuza. Mngomezulu is also the pioneer of and Managing Director of CHSM Incorporated Attorneys.

He said their main focus now was the court case and nothing else. “My clients are in jail and cannot start anything. They cannot start or be part of anything for the simple reason that they are in jail. They are not disassociating because they have never been associated with anything. All they are doing is prioritising their case. Even if people have seen pictures but they mean nothing. People, and here I mean anyone, who use their pictures must do so advisably so not to imply things that are not true,” Mngomezulu said.

Simelane's party has been joined by 'Cece' Shongwe, the former police officer who revealed the plot to arrest the MPs. There has not been any political heavyweight associated with the party so far. 

There were senior trade unionists associated with the party and senior leaders of some of the country's biggest political parties but they have not been announced so far. Meanwhile, social media has been abuzz with excitement as ordinary people nailed their colours in the mast that they go with the red and blue party.