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DIFFERENT WINDOWS I’M LOOKING THROUGH

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It becomes apparent by the day that the nation either has no leadership or the leadership is just oblivious to the current state of affairs in the country.

It is disheartening that the monarch still views the situation through palace windows which conceal all the reality in the country. Either we lack leadership or the leadership is oblivious does not solve the political economic crisis. The socio-political landscape has gone to the dogs, the economy is in shambles, elected Members of Parliament obviously without power, we are without recourse. I will on this day dedicate this article to point out the facts that we need to deal with as a country.

The facts

I am not under the influence of any illicit substance, I will simply reference statistics that have been published by government. Fact; 58 per cent of the population lives below the poverty line, (SHIES 2016). Fact; 27.2 per cent of the population is living with HIV (NSF 2018). His Majesty’s government published unemployment statistics just recently; 33.3 per cent of the population is unemployed, above 50 per cent of the youth is unemployed (ILFS, 2021).

The economy has been stagnating at below three per cent year-on-year growth for the past two decades (various CBE reports), in recent years we have been below even two per cent. Also, the fact that we are seeing the constant rape of lady justice and lack of accountability in the country, the country ranked 117/180 among countries in the corruption perceptions index in 2020. It is a documented fact that corruption contributes to the continuing crisis of democracy in the world over and Eswatini is not an exception to the rule.

The Tinkhundla system

The Tinkhundla system of government has presided over all the above stated factual outcomes of government failure and State failure. It is the Tinkhundla system that has given the nation a House of Assembly that is virtually powerless and ultimately useless, its only purpose is to rubber stamp. We have, over the course of the reign of the Tinkhundla system, witnessed a deteriorating economy and dwindling standards of living for the population, while the affluent and those closer to the echelons of power witnessed a robust increase in their standards of living.

This is evident in the skewed Gini coefficient of 51.5, making Eswatini the 10th most unequal country in the world. In essence, the Tinkhundla system has culminated in a failed state and a failed government. This is the legacy of the Tinkhundla system. We have been waiting to this day for the authorities under the current system to give us solutions and policy prescriptions to deal with the problems that the country faces and to this day, none have been put forward.

The adverse selection

We cannot run away from the fact that the ministerial, judicial and all other critical appointments in the country are flout with adverse selection. If one is to land an appointment, they must be known to the appointing authority and be in the appointing authority’s good books. This shuts out all other potential candidates, with different trains of thought and ideas on how we can get the country moving in the right direction. It shuts out very beautiful idea on how we can foster broad-based growth.

Surely it is clear to all that something has got to change. It is my honest opinion that the Tinkhundla system is one of the binding growth constraints that we need to deal with as a country. Surely we need a better way to govern the country, a way that will ensure that everyone benefits from the prosperity of the kingdom, this is possible if those in power are answerable to the people.

Dire situation

I urge all those in power to seriously consider the situation on the ground which is very dire; commerce is grounded, schools are grounded, tertiary institutions are grounded and the nation is burning. We now need the sovereign to play his constitutional role as a unifying figure. Otherwise, the constant failure to act culminates to a big failure of the system. And sound monitoring and evaluation states that once something is not yielding the relevant outcome, then it must either be fine-tuned or overhauled entirely. We need swift action because as a country, we have passed a point of no return, we need someone to act before we find ourselves in a full-blown civil war. Change is the essence of life and true failure is the inability to adapt to changes facilitated by the wingered chariots of time!

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