The Swazi state is prepared to repress any unrest that might arise as a result of the kingdom’s present economic meltdown.
Millions of dollars have been spent on weapons that have no other purpose than to quell unrest among the Swazi people.
Three armoured anti-riot vehicles costing E6 million (about 880,000 US dollars) have been bought, along with assault rifles worth E1 million, pistols worth E500,000 and millions of rounds of bullets worth E14 million.
The armoured vehicles described by manufacturers BAE Systems ‘as an anti-riot vehicle’ can be deployed in both urban and rural settings. A variety of grenades, rifles and other weapons can be employed from inside the vehicle.
According to BAE Systems, ‘In public order policing configuration, up to 12 fully equipped police officers can operate in the fully air-conditioned vehicle for extended periods. There is also ample space for the accommodation of additional police equipment.’
Although the Swazi Government won’t admit it, these armoured vehicles have no other use than to be turned against the civilian population of Swaziland.
The government also purchased small arms and millions of bullets: enough to fight a small war. But a war against whom? Swaziland has no external enemies, so we must conclude that they are to be used, if necessary, against King Mswati’s own subjects.
There are fewer than one million people living in Swaziland so there will be enough bullets to go round, with some left over.
One website described the car as ‘The car of choice for up-and-coming dictators.’
Since the International Monetary Fund moved in to direct Swaziland’s economy there have been many fears that salary cuts and at least 7,000 public service job losses will result in civil unrest. Among those publicly stating their fears are Barnabas Dlamini, the illegally-appointed Prime Minister of Swaziland and Joannes Mongardini, who headed the IMF team that has just left the kingdom after agreeing to support massive cuts in government expenditure.