Swaziland Solidarity Network [SSN] statement on Africa Day-25 May 2011
The theme of this year’s Africa day celebrations is “Accelerating youth Empowerment for Sustainable Development.” A continent of developing countries could not have chosen a better theme.
Unfortunately, this theme seems to be far removed from the realities of the tiny Southern African country of Swaziland. There the youth are fast losing the little that they had that could sustain any development.
The country is fast turning into a failed state. With no economic sanctions imposed on it, it will go down as the worst self-inflicted economic disaster in the Southern African region. For the youth, the future is very bleak.
An illustration of this is the manner in which tertiary students last year leant with shock that they will no longer be granted study loans to pursue their studies. This year it is evident that the human resource that facilitates the teaching of all school going children will be left with no option but to spend more time in the streets than in class.
Moreover, the very people that they were depending on to sacrifice the little that they have to fund their education, training and very livelihood, are being forced to take salary cuts.
While all this is happening, a greedy royal family lives in luxury at the people’s expenses and its servants are more concerned with acquiring personal property than they are with seeing to it that the youth have an empowering environment.
The nation has nothing to celebrate on Africa Day. In fact it has had very little to celebrate in a long time.
The founding principles of the Organisation of African unity emphasized the “eradication of all forms of colonialism”, and the achievement of, “A better life for all peoples of Africa.”
Where is the regard for these principles in a nation whose government is begging for a green light from European and American dominated financial institutions whose best advise the retrenchment of ten thousand Swazis from the only jobs they might have?
What “better life for all” is this that is only enjoyed by a single family and its sycophants? It is clearly not what the founding fathers of African Unity envisaged.
As the rest of the continent celebrates Africa day, a lot of Swazis will be more concerned with learning how to survive in a collapsed economy. The more far seeing among them will tamper with the idea of replacing the government. Others will question the wisdom behind very existence of the institution of the monarchy.
The time, however, has come to stop this bickering and mulling over the elephant in the room. While it is not the elixir that will lead the country to the land of milk and honey, the monarchy has got to go. Not today or tomorrow, yesterday. Fortunately, the country’s youth are clear on this.