AFRICA: SWAZILAND: BISHOPS CONCERNED OVER GOVERNMENT CORRUPTION
DURBAN, July 26, 2011 (CISA) – Catholic Bishops in Southern Africa have raised an alarm over poverty, bad governance and corruption in the tiny landlocked Kingdom of Swaziland.
The Kingdom is bordered to the North and South by South Africa, and to the East by Mozambique.
The Bishops voiced their concern at the state of human rights in Swaziland and are called on King Mswati’s government to make some radical changes.
According to Vatican Radio, Durban Archbishop, Wilfrid Fox Napier, visited the Kingdom of Swaziland recently and released a statement registering the church’s concern.
Cardinal Napier says the country is in the throes of an unprecedented financial and social crisis. The bishops met the members of the opposition who told of deep economical, social and political difficulties.
Swaziland has: the highest HIV & AIDS infection rate in the world (26%); the lowest life expectancy in the world (32 years); an unemployment rate of 40% and rising; and extreme poverty with 70% of its population living below the poverty line. A State of Emergency has curtailed freedom of expression, association and dissent for the last 37 years.
In their statement, the bishops called on the government to implement a series of reforms including the recognition and implementation the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; the revocation by King Mswati III of the royal decree of 12 April 1973 which established a state of emergency; meaningful dialogue between the King and his people; establishment of a democratic process for writing a new constitution in which all Swazi’s have a part; and the amendment of the current Swazi Constitution.
“It is going to take divine intervention to get that change of heart in the king and in his advisors and in those running the security apparatus. It will take a miracle for that change to take place,” Cardinal Napier concluded.