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MBABANE – Members of the Umbutfo Eswatini Defence Force (UEDF) are best earners when compared to their counterparts in the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) who earn E6 060.83 on the entry level.

Locally, members of the army earn an average of E12 000 on their entry level. However, their salary is said to have been increased from this figure.
The entry annual salary of a private in the LDF is E72 729.96, while in the UEDF, it is about E144 000.

According to global security.org, in Lesotho, there are said to be 3 100 soldiers in active duty while in Eswatini, it is estimated that there are about 3 500 army personnel. Members of the UEDF are recruited from all the different constituencies in the country. They are recruited once they are above the age of 18 and should be physically fit. Also, they have to complete their high school curriculum.

However, their (soldiers) remuneration is higher than that remunerated to diploma holders in the teaching profession, as they amass E10 000 per month on their entry level. The soldiers are remunerated higher than the teachers with diploma qualifications and further get uniforms, food and accommodation from government coffers.

For the financial year of 2014/15, the army was allocated about E628 million of the funds to be spent only on paying salaries and the Ministry of Defence personnel.

Amid this, there have been dissenting voices on the financial expenditure endured by the country as they called for a review of the army’s salaries. An economist called for the country to rid itself of the army. The economist said this was one of the best solutions for the kingdom to deal with its financial challenges.


Actually, it is the same move that the Kingdom of Lesotho has been advised to take as the defence force in that country is regarded an unnecessary expenditure. The UEDF was established in 1979 and since then, the country has never been in foreign conflict with another country but has partaken in regional and United Nations (UN) peace-keeping missions.

The conversation, a research paper by Geoffrey Thomas Harris, Professor, International Centre of Nonviolence, Durban University of Technology, stated that the LDF spent E698 million on its military in 2017.
This is equivalent to 3.9 per cent of government expenditure.

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