The Swaziland Cabinet and government have lost the moral right to govern, one of the kingdom’s leading pro-democracy activists says.
The whole Cabinet led by Barnabas Dlamini, the kingdom’s illegally-appointed Prime Minister, has colluded in abusing their positions by awarding themselves land worth up to twice what they are paying for it, according to Musa Hlophe, coordinator of the Swaziland Coalition of Concerned Civic Organisations (SCCCO).
He says, ‘This, at a time when the government is facing financial meltdown and has to borrow from the banks just to get salaries.
‘Yet the Cabinet can award some of its members a collective E1 million pay rise.
‘I assume the others agreed to it because they are next.’
Hlophe writes in his regular column in the Times Sunday, an independent newspaper in the kingdom ruled by King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, that the Human Rights Commission should act.
‘It is in charge of the Code of Conduct for Ministers and surely this massive unreasonable enrichment is a breach of the code.
‘If it is not the Human Rights Commission then it is the Anti Corruption Commission.
‘Why are our constitutional watchdogs silent?
‘Have they no bark? Have they no bite?
‘The current Minister of Justice [Rev. David Matse] was once Chairman of the Human Rights Commission.
‘He told the country and the world that it would be judged by international standards of transparency and effectiveness. What happened?’
Hlophe also criticises Majozi Sithole, the Swazi Finance Minister, for an interview he gave last week where Sithole was able to offer no concrete plan to get Swaziland out of the economic mess it is in today.
Hlophe writes, ‘As a man tasked with bringing the country’s finances back from the brink of disaster, he seems to have no ideas other than trying to stop small areas of corruption such as the amount of overtime the cleaners in his office get.
‘He says, “For us to get out of this situation we need to turn this crisis into an opportunity. That is for us to restructure and do a lot of structural reforms that we need in a number of areas as a country.”
‘What does that mean?
‘It is bland generalisation and mumbo-jumbo.
‘What we as a people need to know is what structural reforms are necessary in which parts of the country.
‘We know that thousands of civil servants are going to lose their jobs but which ones?
‘I have not yet met one who is seriously thinking about taking the package government is offering.
‘They know that when the money runs out there will be no more.
‘The packages are the path to certain poverty.’
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