Musa Ndlangamandla, the editor-in-chief of the Swazi Observer newspaper, last Thursday (17 November 2011) wrote we shouldn’t stifle debate about the cause of and solutions to the economic meltdown in Swaziland.
I challenged him to tell the Swazi people through his newspapers that King Mswati III was a major cause of the crisis. Unsurprisingly, since Ndlangamandla is editor of the newspaper in effect owned by King Mswati and a former speechwriter to the King, he has not followed through on my suggestion.
Nor have any of the other media in Swaziland, where King Mswati is sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, told the people the truth.
Not so the foreign media. The latest to point out King Mswati’s vast wealth is Business Live in South Africa. Swaziland has been seeking a E1.4 billion (about US$170 million) loan this week to pay public service salaries. Under the headline, ‘A king who could easily bail out his kingdom’, the Grape Vine column in Business Live said yesterday, ‘With a personal war chest estimated at $200-million, Mswati could actually save the country single-handedly, instead of it having to ask its neighbour to help it, which it has already done.
‘The loan amount is said to be more than $170-million, which the king can easily afford.’
The ‘war chest’ it refers to is the personal net worth the King is estimated by Forbes to possess.
So, why doesn’t King Mswati use his money for his subjects? Words like ‘selfish’ and ‘greed’ come to my mind. But, alas, the Swazi people won’t be given the chance by their media to argue the case one way or another.
WE HAVE TO TALK ABOUT THE KING
IMF CALLS FOR SACRIFICE FROM KING