A COUNTRY OF KILLERS
MBABANE – Swaziland has been ranked as the country with the highest murder rate in Africa according to figures in a report released last week Thursday.
The report was released by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
It reveals that the Kingdom is even worse than South Africa in this regard. The figures in the report, ‘Global study on Homicide 2013’ also put Swaziland at number seven worldwide.
Homicide is referred to as the crime of killing someone.
Swaziland has a rate of 33.8 murders per 100 000 people.
This means that based on a population of just over 1.2 million, at least 416 people are killed every year.
The average world rate is 6.2 per cent. The report says homicide is one of the most comparable and accurate indicators for measuring violence.
“As the international community looks towards the post-2015 development agenda, the connection between violence, security and development, within the broader context of the rule of law, is an important factor to be considered,” the report states.
Swaziland’s murder rate has jumped from 12.1 per 100 000 in 2011, beating South Africa which has a rate of 31 per 100 000 after dropping from 64.0.
The information contained in the report was obtained from Swaziland’s public health system in collaboration with the World Health Organisation.
Most of the murders are said to occur within the urban areas, with a majority of the victims being male.
Swaziland’s rate is also higher compared to war-torn countries such as South Sudan or the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), which are 13.9 and 28.3 respectively.
The high number of deaths was attributed to several elements including failure to convict those who committed murder.
The report showed that more people were arrested for homicide yet, fewer were convicted.
This was viewed as one of the reasons why more people continued committing crimes.
Another attribute highlighted was that hardcore criminals were those who had committed lesser crimes.
Superintendent Wendy Hleta, Police Public Relations Officer (PRO) said she had not yet seen the report.
She said she could not state whether the statistics were the same as those the police had.
“I may have to check our statistics department but I also need to have a look at the report,” said Hleta.
Sibusiso Shongwe, the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, said he would like to view the report before commenting. Shongwe said the figure appeared to be very high, considering the population of Swaziland.
“I will be more comfortable commenting once I have looked at the report,” said Shongwe.