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Pondering on the kingdom’s macroeconomic story, it brings to mind the subtle yet salient issues that we need to address as a nation.

The narrative has been largely on the positive aspects of the economy, viz the encouraging growth numbers, the country’s ranking on product diversity relative to comparator countries, the good per capita GDP figures and the country’s inflation figures coming out better than a lot of comparator countries. These are milestones to be celebrated, these are commendable macroeconomic attainments, however, we ought not to forget that these figures juxtapose incongruency in the distribution of the gains.

The far end

I penned my thoughts on the backdrop that we have reached an end of an era politically, and we do not know what the next era holds. I was at ease with celebrating the gains together with the current Cabinet because I understood the long game not out of oblivion to the emergent economic and social needs of the people. The sad realities remain, the country still has record levels of unemployment, poverty and food insecurity to mention a few, and to solve these problems we need a Cabinet that will understand dynamic consistency, the basic notion that you can starve today so that you can enjoy the benefits in future. In my head this is phase one; grow the economy, increase the tax base and later there will be scope enough to improve social spending and deal directly with the needs of the people. It is imperative that we utilise our votes wisely on Friday.

Do right thing

This comes to mind because Friday we will vote and usher in a new political era and order. The policies might likely shift depending on who the new Finance minister will be and whether the incoming prime minister will see the long game that the current Cabinet was playing. I urge all emaSwati to use their vote wisely, our actions on Friday will surely have an impact on the political future that will come in. The vote will determine social and economic policy for the next five years. It is imperative that we vote in the vision to take the baton and move us forward, we need a vision to sustain the gains and ensure trickle down economics really works. We need a leadership that will design and implement policies that will sustain the momentum, accelerate the growth story and distribute the growth to the people. We need to vote in people who understand their role and policy significance of occupying the seat in the House of Assembly, people who will push the development agenda through influencing policy not through out of pocket expenditures.

The next phase

It is imperative to have people who will have a sharp mind or political clout to influence economic policy. We need policies that will translate the growth numbers into jobs, which is the most emergent need of our people. It is imperative that we vote in a cadre of people who will advocate for improved value addition internally so that we retain jobs in Eswatini. We need MPs who will craft policies that will seek to improve the visibility of our people in the domestic value chain and ultimately in the international value chain. We need MPs who will be of mind and idea that we need to improve the efficiency of our education system and our health system, these social services need to work for the people and benefits should be equally distributed. The vote should be emblematic of the poverty problem that the country faces and utilise policies to ensure that we find a sustainable path out of poverty as a country. The next phase is to consolidate, sustain and accelerate; our votes should pave a path to a new economy.

The political pendulum

Friday shifts the political tectonic plates, a new era sets in, I hope we will not lose sight of the salient features of our economy. Historical observations show that the political pendulum usually swings us between stringent austerity measures and relaxed austerity measures. We tend to meander between two realities. Once Cabinet comes in it must implement stringent austerity measures in an attempt to get the fundamentals in place. Five years on a new Cabinet comes in and starts enjoying the brief budding fruits of success from  the previous cabinet, and by the time they vacate office we are back to periods requisite of stringent austerity. This pattern we can break with our vote on Friday and utilising the new reporting mechanisms introduced by the EBC we can maintain the momentum and control the swing of the political pendulum. Economic policy requires us to delay the swing of the political pendulum this time around, we need to sustain the gains and eventually focus on distribution.

Your power

I urge all registered voters in Eswatini to utilise their power wisely on Friday, keeping in mind that the economic future of this beautiful kingdom of ours depends on your vote. Active citizenry is a precondition to sustaining, accelerating and redistributing our economic gains as a nation.