This morning I noticed a headline while driving to work that really bothered me. King Mswati of Swaziland is at it again. He bought a new luxury car, a Mercedes Pullman limo which apparently arrived last Wednesday, the 16th of February.
According to IOL:
Mbabane – Swazi King Mswati III has bought a new Mercedes limousine,
the latest in a string of luxury car purchases for himself and his 10
wives in the southern African kingdom, according to a royal source.
The 36-year-old king caused a stir on Friday when he turned up at the
opening of parliament in his latest acquisition and ordered his
bodyguards to block photographers from taking pictures of the new
Mercedes S-Class Pullman.
"We were strictly told that we cannot take pictures of the king while alighting from his car," said a local photographer.
In his speech in parliament, Mswati urged the nation to join hands to
fight poverty, which he said had reached alarmingly high levels.
More than 65 percent of Swaziland’s 1,2 million inhabitants live on
less than one dollar a day and some 200 000 people depend on food
hand-outs to survive in the kingdom, wedged between South Africa and
The Times of Swaziland reported on Sunday that the king was the first
person in Africa to own such a limousine which it said boasts a
separate air-conditioning system for passengers in the rear and an
ultra-modern audio system.
I am not surprised poverty has reached alarming levels. The king is squandering whatever money is in the country on cars and palaces. It is a bit of cheek that he could ask his subjects to "join hands to fight poverty" when he arrived at Parliament in yet another new and very expensive car.
The Times of Swaziland expressed mild surprise at this latest purchase. Hardly the outrage that is more appropriate for such excesses in this poverty stricken country.
For those of you who don’t know much about Swaziland, it is at the southern tip of Africa. The CIA World Factbook has what appears to be a fairly comprehensive entry on Swaziland. The home page of the Swazi Government may be found here.
Thankfully, his actions are not being ignored by all. The Swaziland Solidarity Network has called for King Mswati to be reined in:
Mbabane – The local and international community should take action
against Swazi King Mswati III’s "insensitive expenditure", the
Swaziland Solidarity Network said on Tuesday.
This comes after the monarch spent R5-million on 10 BMWs for his wives and R6-million on a Chrysler Maybach for himself.
"With this act, it is time now that South Africans and the world at
large intensify their solidarity with the poor people of Swaziland and
support for the struggle for the democratisation their country," SSN
spokesperson Lucky Lukhele said.
He said Mswati’s recent purchases came as 70 percent of the country
lived below the poverty line and the elderly and disabled had no social
policy to count on.
An SSN list of expenditure by "a king who has huge appetite for
material desires and women abuse in the holy name of Swazi culture"
included over R3-million on an entourage of 35 to Japan last year, over
R2-million on the king and queen’s birthday celebrations, over
R8-million to buy vehicles and houses for the wives of his late father.
He also committed the country to a R28-million deposit for the purchase
of a jet and has constructed a clinic for royalty and their guests.
"These expenditures are not debated openly, but are dictated from the
top. There is no chance of resistance. The poor tax-payer is forced to
pay," Lukhele’s statement continued.
He said HIV/Aids prevalence was "knocking on the 40-percent mark" and
you could "hardly get a pain killer tablet at government hospitals".
The country was sustained by the European donor community who has
"quietly (diplomatically) aired their views on the failure by
government to deliver on the people’s socio-economic expectations".
The monarchy was undemocratic and a drain to the taxpayer, Lukhele said.
"We call on the South African government, the Southern African
Development Community, African Union, European Union, United Nations
and all peace-loving people of the world to take bold steps and act
against this despotic manifestation." – Sapa
I also see that Time Magazine has reported on this wasteful king’s excesses. Didn’t this guy study history. This type of behaviour has almost always lead to a revolution of some sort. I really wouldn’t be surprised if this king finds himself at the receiving end of a massive revolution very soon.