11 July 2018

Swaziland: Only 36% of Swazis Approve of PM

Photo: IRIN
Swaziland's parliament (File photo).

Just over one in three people in Swaziland/Eswatini approve of the job performance of Prime Minister Barnabas Dlamini or their member of parliament, a new independent report found.

The figure was even lower for the job performance of their mayor or local councillor.

Afrobarometer in research just published also found the majority of those asked thought services were not improving; 63 percent said government's performance on education was the same or worse/much worse than it was 'a few years ago'.

A total of 68 percent said the same about access to health care; 66 percent thought equal opportunities and treatment for women had not improved and 69 percent said the same about their personal safety.

The research was published just as voters in Swaziland which is ruled by King Mswati III, one of the world's last absolute monarchs, prepare to vote at national elections.

Political parties are banned from taking part in the elections and the King appoints the Prime Minister and government ministers. No members of the Senate are elected by the people and the King also chooses 10 members of the House of Assembly.

Afrobarometer has surveyed the attitudes of Swazi people since 2013. It interviewed 1,200 Swazis in March 2018 for the present report.

It found only 36 percent approved of the PM's performance; 37 percent that of the MPs; local government councillor (28 percent) and mayor (31 percent).

In a 2015 Afrobarometer asked,'In this country how free are you to join any political organisation you want?' only 7 percent responded, 'completely free.' Swaziland came last in the survey of 36 African countries. Egypt and Sudan came second bottom with scores of 27 percent.

In addition, only 18 percent of those surveyed said they had complete freedom of speech and 56 percent said they had complete freedom to vote.

In a 2013 survey Afrobarometer reported two thirds of Swazi people wanted the kingdom to become a democracy and they wanted to choose their own leaders 'through honest and open elections'.

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