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Thursday, 26 August 2010

EVEN KING MSWATI ATTACKS LOGOGCO

Even King Mswati III himself has distanced himself from the comments of Prince Logcogco that the HIV problem in Swaziland has been exaggerated to help benefit drug companies.


Prince Logcogco is chairman of the shady, but powerful Liqoqo council that advises the king.


In a statement to Cable News Network (CNN), the king’s office decried his stance and underscored its commitment to combating the disease.


‘Government wishes to reaffirm to the nation that the HIV and AIDS pandemic is still a national emergency, as declared some years ago by His Majesty,’ the king’s office said.


Prince Logcogco had caused an international outcry with his comments. Swaziland has the highest rate of HIV infection anywhere in the world.


During an interview with the Times of Swaziland, the kingdom’s only independent newspaper, Prince Logcogco said that public awareness campaigns against the disease are scare tactics used by drug companies.


‘This pharmaceutical industry is making a lot of money, and if there was no HIV, there would be a lot of people who would lose business,’ he told the newspaper. ‘What is now happening is that they are making so much exaggeration about HIV/AIDS so that they can keep their businesses afloat.’


CNN reports that King Mswati, who has 14 wives, has also come under fire by activists.


His office said it has started programmes to help combat the disease, including male circumcision and extensive medical research.


Many African countries have undertaken a campaign to promote male circumcision after a study showed it reduces the risk of infection by 60 percent.


‘I therefore request everyone -- especially those in leadership positions ... to give full support to the government position,’ the statement said.


Prince Logcogco also questioned whether male circumcision helps prevent the disease, saying that it was no more effective than bathing after sexual intercourse.


AIDS activists condemned the adviser's statements.


‘It is very irresponsible for a man in his position to say that,’ said Siphiwe Hlophe, director of Swaziland for Positive Living.


‘We have let the prince know that his statement sets a bad example. We have the world's highest rates and he should be using his position to educate the public.’

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