Swaziland’s government has reportedly edited its Millennium Development Goals 2010 progress report to portray gains in the goal on poverty reduction.
The report, according to Times of Swaziland, contains conflicting information on the country’s progress on MDG 1, which aims to halve poverty rates.
The 88-page document contains a color-coded table indicating the country’s overall status on individual goals. Red means the country is not likely to meet the goal by 2015, while yellow implies that the goal may be met. Green indicates that Swaziland will meet the goal.
In the “edited” version of the document, the red circle and the word “unlikely” next to it have been changed to yellow and the word “potentially,” meaning that Swaziland may meet MDG 1 by 2015.
However, turning to another page of the report, one will find the statement, “Swaziland is unlikely to meet this MDG.” In the conclusion, it is once again stated that MDG 1 is unlikely to be met.
“What we have now is a report that says Swaziland might meet certain goals in the index, yet when you read the data arrived at after scientific processes, you learn that there is no way Swaziland will reach those goals by the deadline,” a source of Times of Swaziland said.
“What will happen if the U.N. concludes that Swaziland is trying to force its way into passing the MDGs test? Will they be able to trust anything that comes out of Swaziland in the future?” the source said.
Members of the MDG technical committee, which drafted the report, presented the document to the Cabinet for approval.
Cabinet ministers, according to the technical committee, pointed out every detail of the report they want to amend, Times of Swaziland reports.
“Everything was being done in such a hurry, and I am sure if the ministers had the time they would have forced us to change even the main content inside,” the source said.
Deputy Prime Minister Themba Masuku, who is the chairperson of the Cabinet subcommittee handling the issue, said the technical team sometimes was not able to explain how they arrived at their conclusions in the MDG report.
“If someone presents a report to you which says 69 per cent of Swazis live below the poverty line, the obvious question you ask him is where did he get that statistic from and how old is that statistic? If the response you get in 2010 is that the statistic was released in 2000, then we have a problem because what was true about Swaziland in 2000 is not true today,” Masuku said.