Friday, October 25, 2013

Swaziland's democratic isues

 Swaziland is one of the world's last remaining absolute monarchies.  Swaziland currently holds about 1.2 million people 31% of which are HIV positive.  In Vito Laterza's article he highlights several key issues about trying to turn Swaziland into a thriving democracy.  Swaziland says that they hold elections to elect officials and that approximately 415,000 vote, but there are some concerns that this may be a gross over representation due to the government’s tight grip on everyday politics.  A large problem in trying to switch Swaziland over to a true democracy is that the government is organized in such a fashion so that the majority of the land is owned by the government and then looked over by over 400 different chiefs.  Another large issue is that the people are told their monarch has supernatural powers, so therefore many people do not wish to try and remove him from power.  A problem that only adds fuel to this flame is the fact that a very significant portion of the population is unemployed and only survives off the land that they maintain crops upon.  

Swaziland is suffering a major problem that can only be solved delicately.  The Swazi people look at their king as someone who is supernatural, and they themselves have very little to no education, and virtually no money or means of their own.  In addition, the people have seen the other struggles of Africa in trying to move from one form of government into democracy, and the awful failures that have come with them.  The government seems to thrive off the fact that the majority of its citizens are fearful of the repercussions they might incur if they force an ousting of the government.   It would appear that if the government would formally recognize the issues that surround their nation then organizations like the United Nations would be able to work with them to try and issue in a new pro-democracy era.  The government and land would then be re-appropriated in a way that would promote the citizens to take control of their land and work it the way they deem fit.  Overall, Swaziland can recover but it will not be without the work of its citizens and other foreign nationals working together diligently.  
Ryan Clark

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