The defense of Eswatini includes (2009) some 3,000 men organized in
small army units, the royal police and a small airplane with
lightly armed aircraft exercising some territorial
surveillance. Defense costs amounted to 4.8% of GDP in 2001. To see related acronyms about this country, please check ABBREVIATIONFINDER where you can see that SWZ stands for Swaziland.
Swaziland's defense overview
Swaziland has volunteer military service. The army was
established in 1973. The army has an air component, but it
is unknown if this has any aircraft in use.
From the late 1980s, the country's economic situation
improved significantly. Growth increased and so did foreign
investment. A significant part of food production was
allocated in the EU. The improvements were closely linked to
trade sanctions on South Africa and enabled a development in
the manufacturing industry, which in 1991 accounted for 20%
of GDP and contributed to an annual economic growth of 3.5%.
During the year, the opposition demanded the
reintroduction of the 1968 Constitution, which was the basis
of a British model parliamentary rule. In 1992, PUDEMO
assumed the role of the country's main opposition group, and
Matsapa Shongues Swaziland's United Front as well as Elmond
Shongues Swaziland's National Front joined the group. The
opposition forced the formation of Discussion Committees to
propose political reforms.
Dissatisfaction intensified in 1993 when a prolonged
drought devastated the corn harvest and caused unemployment
The protests against King Mswati III continued. After the
Swaziland Youth Congress set fire to the parliament building
in February 1995, 40,000 people demonstrated a month later
in support of a 2-day general strike.
Following the change of system in South Africa, pressure
was put on the King of Swaziland for a transition to more
democratic conditions, and in February 1996 he declared his
willingness to allow political parties, while there were
persistent rumors circulating about a possible South African
military intervention. Swaziland's National Organization
demanded the monopoly abolished and the multi-party regime
introduced. Violent clashes between protesters and security
forces cost at least 3 lives.
In the middle of the year, the monarch demanded the riots
to cease and reiterated his willingness to revise the ban on
political parties. He also assured that he would allow the
people of the country to participate in the drafting of a
new constitution. The king dismissed Mbilini Dlamini from
the post of prime minister and replaced him with Barnabas
Sibusiso Dlamini, who took over in July.
The political situation did not change significantly in
1997. In March, the king informed the opposition that it
would nevertheless not send delegates to the talks otherwise
scheduled at this time. In July, he formed a 30-member
committee to be responsible for drafting a new constitution
and at the same time called for all initiatives and
proposals in the field to be sent to this committee.
The slow pace of the change process intensified the
climate of protest. The king responded by ordering the
security forces to use sharp ammunition to crack the
resistance during the many demonstrations. The clashes cost
many wounded and several professional leaders were arrested.
In October 1997, new strikes broke out in strategic sectors
such as the sugar industry. The unions also required the
constitution review committee to be dissolved.