Swaziland: Civilians Died of Hunger, Says MP

Photo: Josh Hough/Flickr
Cattle in rural Swaziland: The deaths of about 10,000 cattle in the past month is the highest number of deaths in the country's modern history.

People in the Swaziland lowveld have died of hunger, a member of the Swazi Parliament has reported.

Nkululeko Mbhamali, Matsanjeni North MP, said hunger was rife in his constituency and some people had died at Tikhuba. Crops have failed this year due to poor rains.

Mbhamali said a 'food-for-work' scheme organised by World Vision that was supposed to distribute food supplied by overseas' donors had not been implemented properly and many people were not receiving food.

Mbhamali told local media that people had to prove to World Vision that they were eligible for food, but this was difficult for them to do because they lived in rural areas and could not make the journey to be interviewed by officials operating the scheme.

Mbhamali told the Weekend Observer newspaper, 'I don't know what I'll do now that people are dying. There was this feeling that MPs had a campaigning urge by giving out food to constituencies but the reality is that people are dying. They call us demanding the food-for-work programme but World Vision is still busy making studies.'

Matsanjeni South MP Qedusizi Ndlovu also told the newspaper that wherever he went people begged him for food.

Hlane MP Mduduzi Magagula said the food-for-work programme, which relied on community projects to provide employment, was operating in his constituency, but added some elderly people who cannot work due 'internal health problems' were not eligible because they were considered non-vulnerable.

Samkeliso Dlamini, director of the national disaster management agency, under the office of the Deputy Prime Minister, said he knew nothing about deaths from hunger.

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