Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Aids and Orphans in Swaziland - Government does Nothing


"Swaziland's government has failed to pay more than $10m (£6.3m) in grants to Aids orphans because of its financial crisis, an IMF official has said."

Swaziland has the world's highest HIV/Aids rate (26% of its adult population is infected), leaving some 69,000 orphans. Despite this staggering and heart-wrenching reality, the Swaziland Government claims that it cannot do anything to help the situation. Officials in the Government explain that the global financial crisis has hit Swaziland especially hard, forcing the cutting of many (needed) social programs. Mr Mongardini, the leader of the IMF team that visited Swaziland, told the BBC that the government had "owed" $10m in grants to orphans and $4m to elderly people since September. Many are very skeptical of Swaziland not having enough money to pay for these much needed social programs, explaining that "lavish spending by King Mswati III and his 13 wives has worsened the crisis."

This is overall a very disturbing and depressing situation. Why is the Swaziland Government sitting and watching its citizens suffer like this? Clearly, the leaders in the Swaziland Government do not care about its people enough to try to help fix this awful situation. As bad as the financial crisis is, a Government should never choose conserving money rather than helping its citizens. A Government that does not care about its citizens is worthless and unjust - I think that a power shift (i.e. revolution) is much needed!

1 comment:

Andrew B. said...

Ah revolution....yes, perhaps that would be a good thing for Swaziland, although more likely it would just plunge yet another unstable African nation into decades of civil war.

A more interesting question may be: Should the West get involved? People are dying! So let's roll in with our Apache helicopters and Navy Seals and take out the king and his retinue, right? If we didn't, it'd be like saying that those orphans lives aren't worth as much as Western lives: after all, we would never allow such a situation to happen in the US, or Bosnia.

But I think most of us would agree that for the West to get involved in regime change would be a really bad idea. Thus, we must figure out why all our rhetoric on human rights does not match our actions. I think the answer, that human rights are realistically just not as important as we say there are, is a bit scary but probably the truth. More important concerns such as national sovereignty almost always end up trumping human rights in the end.