Kingdom of Eswatini celebrates 51st Independence Anniversary

Kingdom of eSwatini celebrates 51st of Independence

BY : ZWELI DLAMINI (Additional info: Wikipedia)

The Kingdom of eSwatini formerly known as Swaziland is a landlocked country in Southern Africa. Regarded as one of the smallest countries in Africa, eSwatini share borders with the Republic of South Africa and Mozambique. With a population of about 1.2million people, the country has two official languages being SiSwati and English. The Kingdom was established in the mid-eighteenth century and it was named after Mswati II and King Ngwane. After the Second Boer War, the kingdom, under the name of Swaziland was a British protectorate from 1903 until it regained its independence on 6 September 1968. In April 2018, King Mswati changed the official name of the country from Swaziland to eSwatini; this was during his 50th birthday celebration. King Mswati is the Head of State with powers to appoint the Prime Minister, Ministers, members of the governing councils and Judges among others. King Mswati III, born as Prince Makhosetive on 19 April 1968 is the King and Ingwenyama of the Kingdom of eSwatini.

He was born in Manzini, Eswatini to King Sobhuza II and one of his younger wives, Queen Ntfombi Tfwala. King Mswati was born the same year when the country got independence. On 25 April 1986 at the age of 18, he was crowned King thus the youngest ruling monarch in the world at that time. Together with his mother, Ntfombi Tfwala, now Queen Mother, he rules the country as an absolute monarch. Mswati III is widely known for his practice of polygamy, currently he has about 15 wives.

Elections in the country are held every five years to determine the House of Assembly and the Senate majority. The current Constitution of the country was adopted in 2005, it is regarded as the Supreme Law of the country. Eswatini is a developing country with a small economy, with a GDP per capita of $9,714; it is classified as a country with a lower-middle income. The country is a member of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) , the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the African Union among others. Eswatini main local trading partner is South Africa and in order to ensure economic stability, the country’s currency Lilangeni was pegged to the South African rand. Eswatini's major overseas trading partners are the United States and the European Union and the majority of the country's employment is provided by agricultural and manufacturing sectors. The Swazi population faces major health issues: HIV/AIDS and, to a lesser extent, tuberculosis are widespread.

It is estimated that 26% of the adult population is HIV-positive and as of 2018, Eswatini has the 12th lowest life expectancy in the world, at 58 years. Even though the country is facing challenges of high unemployment and HIV/AIDS, it was recently applauded by the United Nations AIDS Programme it saw re-infections reduced. The country through the National Emergency Response Team on HIV/AIDS (NERCHA) implemented policies on Prevention, Behavior Change and non-discrimination of those living with the virus. Eswatini generates part of its revenue through agriculture and tourism; it is one of the largest producers of sugar that imported to European countries. The country has many tourist attractions Game Reserves that include; Mlilwane Game Reserve, Hlane Royal National Park and Malolotja among others.

Since independence in 1968, the country has made significant strides in infrastructure development like roads, dams, bridges and construction of community schools. But despite these achievements, it suffered a setback when it was hit by a drought in 2016, that left about 300 000 people urgently in need of food aid. Most eMaswati rely on subsistence farming for food security and the drought affected both the economy and ordinary citizens.