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Swaziland Newsletter No. 486

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  • Richard Rooney
    SwazilandNewsletter No. 486 7 July 2017News from andabout Swaziland, compiled by Africa Contact, Denmark (www.afrika.dk) incollaboration with Swazi Media
    Message 1 of 1 , 7 Jul
      Swaziland Newsletter No. 486 7 July 2017
      News from and about Swaziland, compiled by Africa Contact, Denmark (www.afrika.dk) in collaboration with Swazi Media Commentary (www.swazimedia.blogspot.com), and sent to all with an interest in Swaziland - free of charge.
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      SOS sent for starving children
      Swazi Media Commentary, 5 July 2017
      Schools across Swaziland are pleading with businesses and members of the public to donate food for starving children because the Swazi Government has failed to pay its bills.

      A crisis has been growing over recent months and there are fears that children might die as a result.

      The situation grows worse with each passing day, school principals said. It started at the beginning of the year when the Government failed to deliver food to schools as part of an established feeding scheme. It said it did not have the money to buy food.

      The hardest hit, according to local media, are primary schools because they completely rely on government for financial assistance since the introduction of the Free Primary Education programme.

      The Swazi Observer reported (29 June 2017) the Swaziland Principals Association (SWAPA) met with the Minister of Education and Training Phineas Magagula without any positive results, ‘because government is facing money problems at the moment’.
      Magagula confirmed to the newspaper that nothing tangible came out of the meeting to find a solution to the food crisis.

      It quoted SWAPA President Welcome Mhlanga saying schools were asking ‘the nation, companies and organisations to come to the rescue and save the situation’.

      He said, ‘The situation on the ground is worsening with each passing day. There are pupils that kept coming to school because of the food but now that there is no food some are choosing to stay away.’

      The newspaper added, ‘Mhlanga said the situation was dire and it was time for all to help.’

      Last week the Times of Swaziland reported school administrators had sent a number of requests to government, asking it to act fast on the matter because they feared that they would soon start losing lives due to hunger in schools.

      In a report in May 2017, the World Food Program estimated 350,000 people of Swaziland’s 1.1 million population were in need of food assistance. WFP helped 65,473 of them. It said it was regularly feeding 52,000 orphaned and vulnerable children (OVC) aged under eight years at neighbourhood care points. About 45 percent of all children in thought to be OVCs.

      It reported chronic malnutrition affected 26 percent of all children in Swaziland aged under five.
      See also

      Women ‘scared’ to contest election
      Swazi Media Commentary, 3 July 2017

      Some women in Swaziland are too scared to stand as candidates in the national election because their husbands would be angry with them.
      This emerged during voter education at KaGucuka organised by the Elections and Boundaries Commission. One women, reported by local media, said most women of the area feared being nominated for the elections because they would be questioned and even disowned by their husbands.

      The Swazi Observer on Monday (26 June 2017) reported a woman who did not want to be named saying, ‘To be very honest, the reason why this small area has never had a female nominee for elections is because we fear our husbands who will question us on how we got nominated to stand for the elections in the first place. We have heard that a successful nominee requires at least 10 people to nominate them to stand for the elections, unfortunately for us women our husbands will get angry at us when we get nominated.’

      King Mswati III rules Swaziland as sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch. Swaziland is due to hold its national elections in 2018 but the King has yet to announce an exact date. Political parties are banned from taking part in the election and the King’s subjects are only allowed to pick 55 of the 65 members of the House of Assembly; the other 10 are appointed by the King.

      None of the 30 members of the Swazi Senate are elected by the people; the King appoints 20 members and the other 10 are appointed by the House of Assembly.

      The King choses the Prime Minister and cabinet members. Only a man with the surname Dlamini can, by tradition, be appointed as Prime Minister. The King is a Dlamini. 

      Women are underrepresented in the Swazi parliament and there was only one woman elected as member of the Swaziland House of Assembly at the last election in 2013. Other women were later appointed to the Parliament, including at last two members of the Royal Family. According to the Swazi Constitution women should make up 30 percent of the total membership of Parliament.

      At present an Election of Women Members to the House of Assembly Bill of 2017 is being discussed in the kingdom. It aims to put in place a process for electing women to Parliament.

      See also
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