The Deputy Prime Minister of Swaziland / eSwatini Themba Masuku has said poor people should stop having children because the kingdom cannot afford to support them.
The DPM’s office is responsible for child welfare among other issues.
Masuku told the Swaziland News, an online newspaper, that the Swazi government could not fulfil its obligations to the poor.
He told the newspaper, ‘The major problem we face as a country is that eMaswati [Swazi people] are having more and more children. Why do you have more children if you do not have the resources to look after those children? You can marry 10 wives but make sure all those wives are well looked after. Once we are able to manage the population, we could be a rich state. The government does not have a policy that talks about orphans.’
The Deputy Prime Minister, who was not elected but appointed to his post by King Mswati III the absolute monarch of Swaziland, said thousands of children in Swaziland were in need of food aid and other basic necessities of life and government had no financial muscle to meet their everyday needs.
The Swaziland News quoted him saying, ‘We have thousands of needy children today. The sad thing is that the parents of these children are not all dead. Some are still alive and poor, but they keep on producing more children every day. My advice to all eMaswati is that they must have a reasonable number of children. You can have one or two children. As long as you can love and maintain those children.’
According to figures in the CIA Factbook there are about 374,000 children aged 14 or under in Swaziland. In a report in August 2018 the World Food Program said 45 percent of children in Swaziland were orphaned or vulnerable. Chronic malnutrition was a main concern and stunting affected 26 percent of children under the age of five.
Seven in ten of the estimated 1.3 million population live in abject poverty with incomes less than the equivalent of US$2 per day. The global charity Oxfam named Swaziland as the most unequal country in the world in a report that detailed the differences in countries between the top most earners and those at the bottom.
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