King Mswati III, the absolute ruler of Swaziland, has cancelled expected celebrations to mark his 25th anniversary in power.
An unnamed source told the Swazi Observer, the newspaper in effect owned by the king, ‘The King is very concerned about the economic climate of the country. If anything, the king is leading by example. He cannot afford to watch the country waste money when it is going through a bad financial patch.’
Oh yeah! This is the same King Mswati who in the national budget this year (February 2011) ensured that he and his family got a 23 percent INCREASE of E40 million (US$5.88 million) for their spending this year when nearly all government departments had to face a 20 percent cut.
Since then all politicians and civil servants have been told they must take a 10 percent pay cut. This is because the government is so broke it is about to run out of money. There are serious doubts that it will be able to pay salaries his month (June 2011).
Meanwhile, it is said (in hushed tones, naturally) that when the king realised the kingdom was running out of money he demanded that his entire annual budget be paid at once to make sure that he didn’t go short.
The king also is no stranger to wasting the money of the Swazi people. Despite the kingdom’s near bankruptcy, he continues to fly to international visits by a specially chartered jet that will cost the Swazi people a cool US$3.5 million this year.
He also spent about E13 million (US$1. 8 million) on internal decor for three of the royal guest houses this past year.
In April this year he took a reported 50 people with him to the British Royal Wedding, staying in a luxury hotel where the cheapest room cost £450 per night and the cheapest suite £1,100 (E12,300).
No, King Mswati isn’t concerned about his people, the economic climate in Swaziland, nor wasting money on himself, and it is deceitful of the Swazi Observer and its ‘source’ to report otherwise.
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