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Tuesday, 4 January 2011

DEPUTY PM BOASTS OF HIS MILLION

Swaziland’s Deputy Prime Minister Themba Masuku, who is at the centre of a corruption probe over land sales, has boasted that he is a millionaire.


Masuku, who believes he should be appointed the next Deputy General Secretary of the United Nations, said he had worked hard to get his money and he was ‘clean’.


The boastful Masuku told a group of Christians that he was motivated by his own childhood poverty to become rich.


I’m sure that will be music to the ears of the seven in ten people in Swaziland who live in abject poverty, earning less than one US dollar a day.


And also to the poor Swazi people he reportedly stole land from in a controversial deal that also involved Barnabas Dlamini, Swaziland’s illegally-appointed Prime Minister, four members of the Swazi Royal Family and at least nine cabinet ministers (past and present).

He may be proud of his wealth, but he has a long way to go to catch up with King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, who has a personal net worth, estimated by Forbes in 2009 to be about E1.4 billion (US$200 million).

Masuku was quick to tell the Times of Swaziland, the kingdom’s only independent daily newspaper, that being a millionaire did not mean he had E1 million (about US$150,000) in cash, as his assets made up most of it.

The Times reported, ‘Masuku said the millions were in the form of a farm which he bought while still employed in the private sector. The farm is in Malkerns.

‘“It should be noted that I finished paying it off when I was employed by government,” Masuku told the Times. He also revealed that he had property at Eveni.

The Swazi Observer, the newspaper in effect owned by King Mswati, reported, ‘he did not elaborate on how he attained the millionaire status save to put emphasis on the fact that he worked above board’.

The Times reported, ‘He said it was possible to be a millionaire as long as people changed their mindsets towards living.’

If wealth were evenly distributed in Swaziland, everyone would be a millionaire, according to resident United Nations (UN) coordinator Musinga Timothy Bandora, who claimed this in October 2008.

What he realised was that Swaziland isn’t a poor kingdom when you measure its total wealth: the problem is that the wealth is being siphoned off by a few people – with King Mswati and the Royal Family top of the tree.

What’s left, and it isn’t much, goes to the people.

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