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By Peter Kenworthy, Afrika Contact's Swaziland Group
“Swaziland is under pressure to fully democratise,” both from the EU, and from America where “the American government will not fund NGOs and states that are undemocratic,” according to columnist Qalakaliboli Dlamini. Let’s put aside the fact that the US has, and continues to fund, several undemocratic states for a moment and look at what Qalalkaliboli has to say.
He allegedly received a call from Elliott Gamedze, the Private Secretary of the Minister of Economic Planning and Development, last week, who had asked him to meet with Minister of Economic Planning and Development, Prince Sihlangusemphi. During this meeting the Minister supposedly told Qalakaliboli, “donors have decided to pull the plug on Swaziland because no matter how much they pump into our economy, it would seem they are not making any headway.”
According to Richard Rooney, a well-respected journalist who writes the Swazi Media Commentary, a widely read blog with uncensored news and analysis on Swaziland, “Qalakaliboli has been known to write through his backside with no regard for truth,” however. So perhaps we shouldn’t take the news at face value just yet.
Nevertheless, it is a well-known fact that Swaziland’s economy has been in disarray for some time now so even if Qalakaliboli is not the most reliable of sources, he might just be right, if not in substance then in essence. An IMF report from the January 24 correlates with this view in stating that “the debt dynamic [in Swaziland] is becoming unsustainable” and in laying the blame squarely on the shoulders of the Swazi government for its inflated civil service and “unfortunate” spending on unnecessary prestige projects.