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.
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Dissatisfaction intensified in 1993 when a prolonged drought devastated the corn harvest and caused unemployment to rise.
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.