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USDF RANKS AMONG MOST CORRUPT ARMIES IN WORLD

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stanley@times.co.sz

MBABANE – The Umbutfo Swaziland Defence Force (USDF) is ranked as one of the most corrupt armies in the world.
The ranking was done by the government defence organisation.org, a division of transparency international.


It noted that the country did not have the formal provision for effective and independent legislative scrutiny of defence policy.
One of the questions posed during the assessment of the army was whether there was a formal provision for effective and independent legislative scrutiny of defence policy.
The response was: “There is no formal provision for effective and independent legislative scrutiny of defence policy. While the Constitution provides for a Parliament and freedom of speech to parliamentarians, the legislature is neither independent nor constitutionally in charge of defence scrutiny.”


It further highlighted that the country did not have an identifiable and effective parliamentary defence and security committee (or similar organisation) to exercise oversight.
“Swaziland is an absolute monarchy where the king has final authority over all branches of government. Although parliament includes both appointed and elected members and a prime minister, international observers have concluded that the September 2013 parliamentary elections did not meet international standards - it can, therefore, not be considered independent. US State Department reporting notes authorities have failed at times to maintain effective control over the security forces.


“There is nonetheless a Parliamentary Portfolio Committee for the Ministry of Defence that reviews the budgets and performance reports of the ministry.”
Interviewees have raised concerns over the effectiveness of this committee, however. For example, while legislators may raise concerns over the defence budget and its size, the budget is approved without amendment.
Through the assessment done by the organisation, some of the questions that were to be answered were: “Is the country’s national defence policy debated and publicly available?
“Do defence and security institutions have a policy, or evidence, of openness towards civil society organisations (CSOs) when dealing with issues of corruption? If no, is there precedent for CSO involvement in general government anti-corruption initiatives?

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