The Swazi government is largely to blame for the economic recession and subsequent increasing amount of Swazis who have to skip meals due to the financial mismanagement of the Swazi government, according to recent reports from the World Economic Forum, United Nations and the Institute for Security Studies.
The reports list low growth levels, government wastefulness and corruption, and lack of democracy and accountability as some of the main reasons for the economic downturn that has led to as increasing amount of starving Swazis.
According to the new Global Competitiveness Report by the World Economic Forum, Swaziland is one of the least competitive countries in the world – ranked 135th out of the 144 measured. The main reasons for this, says the report, are inefficient government bureaucracy and corruption.
The Global Competitiveness Report more specifically names wasteful government spending, lack of savings and budgetary balance, lack of government transparency, and health related issues such as tuberculosis, Aids and a low life expectancy as areas where Swaziland rank poorly compared to the other 143 countries in the survey.
The Swazi government’s claims that it is suffering due to the Global Economic Crisis is contested by another recent report, the United Nations Rapid Assessment of the Fiscal Crisis in Swaziland. Instead, the report claims that “weak governance and especially the lack of sound public financial management” are “key factors behind these developments.” “Even prior to the fiscal crisis,” says the report, “Swaziland was among the least growing countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.”
The effect of the economic downturn, says the report, is amongst other things lack of food in one out of four of the surveyed households. “Some households were eating less than three meals a day, skipping for the entire day.” 63 per cent of the population live in poverty, 29 per cent in food poverty, says the report, making “Swaziland akin to a low income country.”
Finally, the Institute for Security Studies’ Situation Report on Swaziland says that the present Swazi Tinkundla election system, that amongst other things outlaws political parties and lets the king select the cabinet and many of the parliamentarians, “reproduces the prevailing political status quo in Swaziland” and results “in a parliament which does not have power.” Swaziland is one of only three African countries that do not have multiparty constitutions.
The report also quotes a democratic movement that sees the “tinkhundla system as being the bedrock of the Swazi system of autocratic governance devoid of accountability; as a tool for entrenching economic mismanagement and corruption, poverty and inequalities.”
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