The Deputy Prime Minister Paul Dlamini was reported by one local newspaper saying 200,000 people would be ‘starving’ by then.
That amounts to about one sixth of the 1.2 million population of Swaziland.
A different newspaper reported Dlamini giving a higher figure of ‘about 300,000 people’ in need of food aid by April 2016.
Swaziland is ruled by King Mswati III as sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch. Political parties cannot contest elections and the King chooses the Prime Minister and Cabinet ministers.
Media in Swaziland reported that members of the Swaziland House of Assembly gave the Deputy Prime Minister 24 hours to report on where he would find money to tackle the crisis.
The Times of Swaziland, the only independent daily newspaper in the kingdom, reported on Thursday (10 December 2015) that the ultimatum came after the Swazi Government ‘confirmed that it does not have a budget to feed the thousands of people affected by the drought brought about by El Nino’.
The Swazi Observer, a newspaper in effect owned by King Mswati, reported Dlamini saying the figure requiring food aid would rise to 200,000 by March 2015. The Observer added, ‘Dlamini stated that statistics had revealed that next year 200,000 people would be starving.’
The Times reported, ‘Dlamini said their predictions showed that by March and April, about ‘300,000 people would be in need of food aid’.
The Observer reported, ‘The deputy prime minister stated that unfortunately government would not be able to help the affected people due to financial constraints.’