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SD has 90 days to enact law or lose E200 million

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LOBAMBA – Swaziland stands to lose around E200 million in aid from the United States of America should the country fail to enact a law combating human trafficking.

The country has to come up with the law within 90 days. Prime Minister Sibusiso Dlamini has disclosed that there were countries that had told Swaziland that they would not be in a position to assist the kingdom if it did not have the law. He said one of these countries had given the country this ultimatum.

He said the country that had given Swaziland the ultimatum had signed an agreement that the kingdom would get E200 million annually for its health sector. However, after Swaziland delayed enacting this law, government was informed that it could lose this aid.

It could not be immediately established when the 90 days would elapse, however, the news of this was publicised on June 20. Principal Secretary in the PMs office Mbuso Dlamini referred questions on the deadline to the American Embassy. The PM made the revelation in the House of Assembly yesterday afternoon while piloting the People Trafficking and People Smuggling (Prohibition) Bill of 2009, which he had brought to the House with a certificate of urgency. He said the certificate was motivated by the fact that government was trying to meet the deadline.

However, some legislators did not take kindly to the ultimatum. Lobamba MP Majahodvwa Khumalo said it was dangerous to agree to this as it would set a bad precedent. He stated, for instance, that one country might dictate that Swazis should stop wearing emahiya in order to benefit from some aid. Chief Nzameya Nhlabatsi also expressed concern about the issue while Hosea MP Mduduzi Mabuza wondered why the help had to come with strings attached.

In response, the premier said the deadline was a form of encouragement from this country. We experienced a similar situation with countries who wanted us to enact a law fighting against terrorism. This is because we have signed a United Nations convention that compels us to have such a law, but since we are behind, some other countries are starting to put pressure on us. For the record, we had already made up our minds that we would enact the law. In fact, when this ultimatum came, the Attorney General had finished drafting the law, explained the PM.

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