Elections are supposed to give the voters a chance to elect their leader, bring in a significant change. But in a tiny land of eSwatini, earlier known as Swaziland, the elections held are practically useless. eSwatini is under the absolute control of their ruler King Mswati III. He has supreme control over all the people here, and he is above the law. But election polls are being conducted despite no change in the results.
There are no political parties that can contest for elections, King Mswati III holds the absolute control over parliament and government. "Elections are meaningless and do not allow Swazi citizens to hold their government to account or to meaningfully participate in democracy," said Kaajal Ramjathan-Keogh, an executive director of a regional NGO to a news report. There is no democracy and his authoritarianism came to fore when he changed the name of the nation from Swaziland to eSwatini in the month of April. Swaziland Becomes 'eSwatini' on King Mswati III 50th Birthday! Know The Meaning of New Name Given by Africa's Last Absolute Monarch.
eSwatini is no small nation considering there is a population of 1.35 million people. About 530,000 voters pick from candidates, all of which are extreme loyalists with the ruler. Mswati handpicks the prime minister along with the lawmakers. King Mswati III was crowned in the year 1986 when he was 18 years old. He has been ruling the country for 32 years, which makes one of the longest rulers in the world.
Mswati is far from being considerate of his people and doesn't have any flourishing policies. He has 15 wives and more than 20 children. While he enjoys a wealthy lifestyle, 63% of his people are living below the poverty line. And they continue to be silent sufferers year after year under his absolute decree. He has been in the news for jailing journalists and those who criticised him.
The children here show signs of malnutrition. The labour force is unemployed and farmers are crippling under the drought situations. The country even has the world's highest rate of HIV, according to UN records. About 27% of adults aged 15 to 49 were suffering from AIDS. Last year, 3500 people died because of AIDS. So while there continues to be a 'democratic' election, the authoritarianism remains.