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Friday, 12 November 2010

IMF TOLD: CHANGE SWAZI GOVERNANCE

King Mswati III and the Swaziland Royal Family should help pay to rescue Swaziland’s crippled economy.


And improvements to the way the kingdom is governed as well as economic changes are needed to save Swaziland.


The money the king and the Royal Family have siphoned off from the Swazi economy for their own spending is a major factor in the economic collapse of the kingdom.


The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has been told that King Mswati and his government are directly responsible for the economic crisis. This week the Swazi Government confirmed it will cut 7,000 public service jobs.


Africa Contact, Denmark, has written to the IMF to urge that as it searches for a solution to Swaziland’s problems, it not only focuses on economical policies, ‘but also addresses the root course of the undemocratic government whose policies are built on corruption and nepotism’.


In a letter to Joannes Mongardini, the IMF Mission Chief to Swaziland, Africa Contact says, ‘It is common knowledge that the economical policies of the Swazi government are not by any means a shining example of good governance.


‘It is also self-explanatory that the current Head of State, King Mswati III, and his government are responsible for the political and financial mismanagement of the country.’


The IMF has itself blamed the economic crisis on the Swazi Government.


The IMF has been in Swaziland to advise the government how to get out of the economic mess. It stressed the need for job cuts and more efficiency in collecting taxes and other revenues.


Africa Contact says the IMF fails to address, ‘the unhindered access to state funds by the King and other powerful individuals. This unhindered and unchecked access to public funds by these individuals has resulted in the spending of enormous sums on private consumption and has severely crippled the national budget.’


Information about Royal spending is not made public, but figures seen in 2009 suggest the Royal Family receives about E300,000 a day from the Swazi people, while seven-in-ten of the king’s subjects earn less than E10 a day.


Africa Contact has joined others in predicting the harsh economic measures demanded by the IMF will lead to civil unrest.


‘The massive cutbacks that are suggested will hit the poorest Swazis hardest and cause a spate of civil unrest in Swaziland, as has been the case in other African countries that have implemented similar cutbacks.


‘Swaziland’s poor, such as many of the over 40 percent of Swazis that are HIV-positive and who are already struggling to make ends meet, will almost certainly be severely affected, as the social and health care systems are usually first in line when governments cut back on public spending.’


Africa Contact urges the IMF to rethink its decision that economic measures are the only way to save Swaziland. It wants the IMF to insist on changes to the way Swaziland is governed. At present it is ruled by King Mswati who is sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch and Barnabas Dlamini was illegally appointed as Prime minister.


Africa Contact concludes, ‘If the IMF does not see fit to solve Swaziland's problems holistically, and by this we mean solve its interrelated problems of an economy spiralling out of control and bad governance, we will regrettably be forced to take the matter up with our contacts in the Danish and European Parliament to ensure that these matters are properly discussed within the IMF itself.’

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