Swaziland — one of the world’s most poor country, ruled by a despot Mswati III, who has amassed disgusting amount wealth while his people wallow in poverty.
In 2012, Swaziland’s economic growth remained one of the lowest in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), despite a marked increase in the SACU revenues. Although official estimates put real gross domestic product (GDP) growth at 0.2%, it is estimated that the economy marginally contracted by 0.3%
Below is a statement from Swaziland Solidarity Network on the conditions of the country.
— Editor Other Aspect
By People in favour of a People’s Democratic Republic on Swaziland
SSN END OF YEAR STATEMENT
21st December, 2013
The Swaziland Solidarity Network [SSN] wishes the entire Mass Democratic Movement, and the Swazi nation, a happy festive season, a time to reflect and refresh in preparation for another year of struggle against King Mswati’s brutal dictatorship.
The year 2013 was a disappointing year on the battle front as few recognizable advances were recorded in the struggle against the Monarchical dictatorship. While the two preceding years, 2011 and 2012, yielded mass demonstrations by various organizations within the Mass democratic Movement, this year there were little or none.
This, unfortunately, coincided with the pseudo-elections which the country’s dictatorship uses to hoodwink the nation into thinking that it has a hand in the creation of the country’s government. Despite conducting a peaceful, yet worthless, election the King Mswati regime went on to oversee the systematic reduction of essential social services to the population, while continuing to enrich itself.
POOR ECONOMIC PERFORMANCE
The Swazi economy continues to perform poorly and currently ranks as the slowest growing economy in the Southern African region. This is a result of King Mswati’s lack of economic nous, his greed and rampant corruption within the government.
Swaziland’s desperation to pay its civil servants in 2012 provided the clearest indication that the country is a Banana kingdom. With its head of state reduced to a beggar who flew from Swaziland to Pretoria to beg for a bail-out from another developing state, Swaziland was on the verge of total collapse. While a more responsible government would have used this experience to change its spending habits, for Swaziland this was not the case.
As a result, as soon as the country received a windfall from the South African Customs Union [SACU], the first thing its authorities did was look to buy a new aeroplane to justify its empty billion Emalangeni white elephant airport. There are also plans of building a new billion Emalangeni convention centre and hotel. This unfortunately entails reducing the resources set aside for important social needs which every developing country needs to prioritize on.
This skewed spending pattern unfortunately widens the gap between Swaziland’s richest man, King Mswati, and the rest of the population. This is the desired result, which is meant to keep the nation under royal control by the systematic creation of two classes, one rich royal family and poverty stricken population of “commoners”.
A DICTATORSHIP BY ANY OTHER NAME
Ever since Swaziland’s monarch, Mswati, first understood the words “democracy” and “dictatorship”, very late in his adult life, he has attempted by all means to be associated with the latter, even using dictatorial means ironically.
Creating the smoke-screen of a constituency-based parliament, known in Siswati as Tinkhundla was his father’s gift to him. When this parliament was exposed as nothing more than an empty powerless institution, the king’s spin doctors resorted to word-play, calling the system a “unique democracy”, this also did little to hide the harsh realities of the dictatorship.
The adoption of a new constitution after four decades of royal rule by decree was the second attempt by the new king to present itself as “democratic”. This constitution, as expected, was nothing by an extensively coded decree. This year the king resorted to more word-play when he christened his dictatorship a “Monarchial Democracy”.
It is a phrase that is pushed down the throat of every Swazi who is part of the government as all members of the powerless parliament are expected to acquaint themselves with this old philosophy with a new name tag. It has been further reported that the king has commissioned the publication of a book which explains this system in detail.
Fortunately, all these desperate attempts to window-dress the monarchy have failed to achieve their intended purpose as neither the nation nor international observers are convinced of its democratic credentials. If anything, it exposed the fact that the king is vulnerable to the opinions of the Mass Democratic Movement and spends sleepless nights attempting to conceal his misrule and dictatorship.
THE STRUGGLE MUST CONTINUE
The most important attributes of any struggle are “consistency” and “evolution”. This means that the struggle must continue consistently, evolving to suit the times. In this regard, the Swazi struggle has shown great promise as new and more effective methods of engaging with the masses continue to be undertaken and tried and tested methods of putting pressure on the regime are adopted.
The year 2014 should not resemble the current year which can best be described as a ceasefire. King Mswati must not rest as the democratic forces use every method; in every corner of the country to bring hasten the inevitable demise of the Monarchial dictatorship.
FREEDOM FIGHTERS NEVER DIE, THEY MULTIPLY
While the world celebrated the life of Comrade Nelson Mandela, king Mswati and his followers were busy performing rituals to strengthen their grip on power. Our network finds it appropriate that this dictator was not present at the sending off of Africa’s greatest statesman. Mswati’s presence in such a historic funeral would have spoilt a very serious occasion.
What was unfair and completely absurd is the jealousy he exhibited by banning all memorials in honour of Nelson Mandela. Our network condemns the manner in which the Swaziland United Democratic Front [SUDF] was forced to conduct its prayer service in honour of Mandela in the streets as the Royal Swazi Police barred them from holding the prayer in a Lutheran church in Manzini.
We once again wish our Swazi comrades a year of fruitful struggle. It is not just a cliché, but a well documented fact that a revolution is not an event but a process. Thus every single act, event or even lack of action against the king Mswati dictatorship only brings the nation closer to democracy. The forces of democracy should therefore focus on being through in their work, in as much as we all want the King Mswati dictatorship to end immediately.
Issued by the Swaziland Solidarity Network [SSN]
Lucky Lukhele- Spokesperson
+72 502 4141