The small country of Swaziland in Southern Africa is the last absolute monarchy on that continent. It also has the highest rate of HIV infection (50% of young adults test positive) in the world. The Kingdom’s response to this public health crisis has been hampered by a significant lack of leadership by the King according to people in the country
It’s against this background that the Bishop of Swaziland (a diocese of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa) has spoken out in a startling way calling for “regime change”.
As the Church Times reports:
“THE Bishop of Swaziland, the Rt Revd Meshack Mabuza, told the BBC last week that King Mswati III, the only absolute monarch in sub-Saharan Africa, should give up political power and allow a democratic government to be formed. Bishop Mabuza said that the answer to the country’s problems, which include a cash crisis, “lies in regime change in terms of the traditional, feudalistic, archaic form of government. It has to be replaced with multi-party democratic rule.””
To put the King’s actions into context here’s a small snippet from one of the local Swazi papers (received by email):
“The most recent drama comes as the kingdom appeals [to] the International Monetary Fund for a bailout to refloat its floundering economy; but activists claim the 43-year-old king controls assists worth far more than the sum needed. His personal wealth is estimated to be somewhere between $100m (£63.5m) and $200m, while the majority of the 1.4 million Swazi people live below the poverty line. – Poppy McPherson”
More of our coverage regarding the crisis in Swaziland can be found here.