12 July 2019

Swaziland: Nearly One in Four in Swaziland Believe Prime Minister Is Corrupt, Transparency International Reports

Photo: Corruption Watch
An anti-corruption billboard.

Nearly one in four people (24 percent) surveyed in Swaziland / eSwatini believe their Prime Minister is corrupt, according to a report from Transparency International.

Nearly one in three (32 percent) think government officials are corrupt. Just over half (51 percent) think corruption increased in the previous 12 months.

Although the results show corruption is high in Swaziland the survey suggests that people think the situation has improved since 2015. Of those surveyed, 58 percent said the government was doing a 'good' job fighting corruption.

Nearly one in five (17 percent) users of public services reported they had paid a bribe in the past 12 months: 21 percent said they had paid a bribe to get an ID card; 10 percent said they had bribed the police.

The results were published on Thursday (11 July 2019) in the Global Corruption Barometer (GCB) - Africa survey, a collaboration between Afrobarometer and Transparency International. It followed a report in January 2019 in which Transparency International scored Swaziland 38 out of a possible 100 in its Corruption Perceptions Index for 2018. In this scale zero was 'highly corrupt' and 100 'very clean'. The index ranks countries by their perceived levels of public sector corruption according to experts and businesspeople.

In May 2019, the US State Department in its annual review of human rights in Swaziland found there was a widespread public perception of corruption in the executive and legislative branches of government and a consensus that the government 'did little to combat it'.

It added, 'There were widespread reports of immigration and customs officials seeking bribes to issue government documents such as visas and resident permits. In March police raided the Department of Immigration, where they confiscated files and arrested and charged two senior immigration officers. The government filed charges against one of the senior officers based on allegations she had processed applications for travel documents for foreign nationals who were not present in, and had never visited, the country.'

It added, 'Credible reports continued that a person's relationship with government officials influenced the awarding of government contracts; the appointment, employment, and promotion of officials; recruitment into the security services; and school admissions. Authorities rarely took action on reported incidents of nepotism.'

In June 2017, the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) reported the kingdom, was riddled with corruption in both private and public places.

It said, 'The results of grand corruption are there for all to see in the ever increasing wealth of high-level civil servants and officers of state.'

Swaziland is ruled by King Mswati III as an absolute monarch. Political parties are banned from taking part in elections and the King appoints the Prime Minister and government ministers, as well as senior judges and civil servants.

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