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

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level 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.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid