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Parliament did well to stop a motion that sought to grant permanent residency to investors in a drive to attract foreign direct investment because, outside being misplaced and ill-informed, those behind the motion overlooked the fact that this country has been overrun by pseudo-investors who have taken over businesses that ordinarily ought to be an exclusive preserve of emaSwati.

The kingdom is already saturated with pseudo-investors, specifically in the retail sector, which include foreigners employed as shopkeepers in the name of investors under the watch of the Tinkhundla government. The Members of Parliament (MPs) behind the motion anchored their motivation to the fact that other countries used permanent residency permits as a magnet for attracting foreign direct investors (FDIs). As it turns out theirs was an incomplete thought because had they allowed the thought process to go full cycle, they would have stumbled on some uncomfortable truths why this kingdom was not tailored to emulate such examples owing to a plethora of challenges.

As I wrote this article, the kingdom is not politically stable and in fact has not been for a long time before last year’s civil uprising against the political status quo. The very architecture of the obtaining polity could not and does not guarantee predictability, a very important element towards ensuring the stable environment desired by FDIs. As I see it, using permanent residency as a carrot to attract FDIs would flood this country with additional pseudo-investors who would not add any value to the national economy and the country’s development imperatives. As it were, the motion came in the wake of revelations that 2 000 foreigners were issued with visas simultaneously in the face of empirical evidence of a systematic and complete takeover of businesses that should have been reserved for indigenous entrepreneurs in both urban and rural areas had government been in the service of the people. The one turnkey to making a country attractive to FDIs is a predictable political environment which can only be guaranteed by a truly democratic political dispensation and not a political experiment – Tinkhundla political system – that has gone horribly wrong.


That is the solution that apparently evaded the sponsors of the motion. As it were, the political environment allows the high and mighty to do as they wish, including demanding free shareholding in potentially lucrative investments. Additionally, the existing polity does not guarantee an independent Judiciary from which to seek redress if and when needed ostensibly because it is under political patronage.The long and short of it is that FDIs can only be attracted if and when a multiparty democratic dispensation replaces the corruption-prone Tinkhundla political system that treats the rest of the people as third class citizens with no rights and privileges whatsoever.  

My second instalment is the apparently dysfunctional African Union (AU) whose primary mandate appears to be serving the singular interests of African leaders, especially those with despotic tendencies. This much was in display in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, where African heads of State and government gathered to deliberate on the subject matter of ‘Terrorism and Unconstitutional Changes of Government’. It is plain obvious that African leaders are fixated with themselves and the security of tenure other than prioritising civil society. As I see it, the choice of the venue for the summit speaks volumes about the African leadership collective’s disposition towards tyranny and dictatorships. Their host, President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, is the poster boy of African dictatorships and serial violators of human rights of their people, and ought to be isolated instead of being honoured with hosting an AU Summit. Hence the title of the summit is self-serving and depicts a leadership collective preoccupied with itself other than prioritising the people they are charged to serve.

The AU has dismally failed to transition and transform from its predecessor, the Organisation of African Union (OAU), to a useful organisation to motor Africa’s agenda. It remains what the OAU was, an old boys club where African leaders, with a fair sprinkling of despots and dictators, massage each other’s egos and possibly also share notes on the art of oppressing their people and looting their national economies. Africa remains a basket case to this day while the wealth of its leadership collective has grown exponentially. Why, they even purchase executive jets ostensibly to fly around the world to beg for handouts on behalf of their people.


For the AU to be taken seriously and extricate itself from the shadow of the OAU, it must begin by addressing the sources that give rise to so-called terrorism and unconstitutional removal of governments. It might stumble on the fact that it is the very leaders it is protecting who are to blame for political instability in their respective countries. A majority of these leaders are no saints, but are the real culprits for creating toxic political environments in their countries because of their excesses which include looting and impoverishing their citizens, violently dealing with and committing extra-judicial killings to silence dissenting voices.

Has the AU ever posed for a moment to address the perennial migration of Africans to Europe wherein they risk their very lives by using unsafe methods to cross oceans? If people would rather risk their lives than remain in their countries, that tells a story about how they are governed. Yet the AU is not in the habit of calling African leaders to account for anything, even if and when violating its own conventions to which they are signatories.  Ultimately the AU cannot and does not deserve to be taken seriously until and unless it puts the agenda of the people ahead of that of its leaders.     

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