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The naked emperor: We must act now on the dystopian dream of Eswatini’s tinpot dictator

The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or views of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation.

In this op-ed, published in the Daily Maverick, Foundation board member Jay Naidoo calls for good governance and ethical leadership in Eswatini. He urges his fellow South Africans and members of SADC to take the lead in championing the right of the people of Eswatini to elect a truly representative government.

We all need to act. Civil society, the labour movement, academia, the political class and business. You and me, us. That’s what South Africa expected from the world. That’s the solidarity that was given unconditionally to us.

Below is an excerpt; read the full piece here. 

As a generation that still clings to power, we have to listen very carefully and build a genuine intergenerational dialogue and cooperation. It is the only way we will avoid our youth dividend becoming a nightmare of despair and a fertile ground for political opportunism and extremism.

There is no exceptional African model or Western model of democracy. And we don’t need a poor photocopy of some Western or Asian example. 

Human rights are human rights are human rights. 

We need governments to respect the fundamental human rights of all citizens, governments that build social cohesion and shared prosperity for all, not just for the elites.

Good governance and ethical leadership are not luxuries. They are a prerequisite for our success. As a reported plea by a young Swazi protester put it, “We are the youth of Swaziland and we are so much depressed by the government. Our government is not being fair; it is just one man’s land.”