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Swazi situation worsens

The situation in Swaziland continues to worsen — although the South African government was willing to bail out the landlocked monarchy, pro-democracy protestors in both countries are complaining about the lack of insistence of stronger controls on human rights reforms associated with its recent loan.

As a result, the King is looking to places like Qatar and Kuwait to get out of the current financial bind. Meanwhile, citizens (subjects) are seriously suffering, as the UN News Service (IRIN) reports:

The impact of the current financial crisis is severe and according to the World Food Programme, annual production of the staple maize since 2000 has gradually dropped – from an average of 100,000 tons to about 70,000 tons – a consequence of erratic weather, high input and fuel costs, HIV/AIDS and the declining use of “improved agricultural practices”.

Stocks of antiretrovirals have become alarmingly low and were reportedly standing at one month’s supply. Swaziland has the world’s highest prevalence, with one in four Swazis aged 15-49 HIV-positive and about 70 percent of the population living below the poverty line.

This is another catastrophe in the making. I am not sure why Zuma is not taking a harder line on Mswati — he is not in the club of independence leaders (i.e. Mugabe), and there is no currency gained from supporting him. Why not use some political leverage to open the country, and earn serious political capital at home and abroad?

About Evan Lieberman

I am a Professor of Political Science at MIT, and I conduct research, write, and teach about development, ethnic politics, and research methods.

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  1. Pingback: Swaziland on verge of implosion? « evan lieberman - November 16, 2011

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