News / Africa

Democracy Only Solution to Swaziland’s Financial Woes, Says Critic

Activists demonstrate in the streets of Mbabane on July 21, 2011 to draw attention to their government's dwindling supply of anti-retroviral drugs, as Swaziland is the world's highest HIV infection rate. They delivered petitions to the Health and Finance
Activists demonstrate in the streets of Mbabane on July 21, 2011 to draw attention to their government's dwindling supply of anti-retroviral drugs, as Swaziland is the world's highest HIV infection rate. They delivered petitions to the Health and Finance

Multimedia

Audio
  • Clottey interview with Mario Masuku, leader of Swaziland's banned opposition Peoples’ United Democratic Movement, PUDEMO,

Peter Clottey

In Swaziland, the leader of the banned opposition Peoples’ United Democratic Movement, PUDEMO, says the current economic crisis is a vindication of his group’s position that only democratic reforms can resolve the country’s problems.

Mario Masuku says it is unlikely the current political system, Africa’s last absolute monarchy, can resolve the country’s financial woes.

“We have said for a long time that all this crises that the country is experiencing -- economic, social, health, education and welfare -- are all just mere symptoms of an unworkable system of governance,” said Masuku. “It all centers on one question which is ‘what is the problem of Swaziland?’  And the problem of Swaziland, unfortunately, points to the issue of the monarchy.”

In its latest report, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) says the “fiscal crisis in Swaziland has reached a critical stage, with the government’s revenue collections insufficient to cover essential government expenditures, including the wage bill.”

The IMF also warns that the government will continue to face severe liquidity constraints in the coming months. It also projects real GDP growth to fall to 0.3 percent in 2011, notwithstanding an increase in agricultural and manufactured exports.

The Swazi government reportedly turned down a $2 billion South African bailout after the aid package was tied to democratic reforms.

Masuku insists democratic transformation is the only way to resolve the country’s financial challenges.

“PUDEMO has said over again that the monarchy [should] look after cultural and traditional issues and leave the government of the people to the people,” said Masuku. “The people should form their own government and elect their own cabinet. Then these [financial problems] will be able to be solved.”

He insists unless there is a multiparty democracy in Swaziland “we will continue to experience [troubles] irrespective of whether we get a bailout or not.”

But supporters of the administration reject PUDEMO’s assertion arguing that the global economic downturn has affected most countries, including Swaziland. They are calling for a “pragmatic dialogue” to help resolve the country’s financial challenges.

Masuku said the government has so far refused any efforts to engage opponents.

“We have been advocating dialogue since 1993. But, if the government is not amenable to negotiation and national dialogue, chances are this then [could lead to] a revolution,” said Masuku. “We are saying we are extending an olive branch [to them].”

He also said there are indications the government will soon be struggling to pay public sector workers, an assertion officials of the government deny.

You May Like

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. More

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

Dropout rate at an all-time high in South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during 3-year civil war More

Tennessee Songbirds Fly Coop Long Before Tornadoes Arrive

Researchers say birds apparently alerted to danger by sounds at frequencies below range of human hearing More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportionali
X
Aru Pande
December 19, 2014 1:45 AM
The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportional

The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid