Democracy campaigners in Swaziland have come up with a novel protest against King Mswati III – ignore the public holiday called to mark his birthday and go to work instead.
The April 12 Swazi Uprising Movement is one of the many groups and individuals in Swaziland angered that King Mswati will be spending millions of emalangeni of public money on his birthday party. They want the Swazi people to boycott any celebration of his 44th birthday that falls on Thursday (19 April 2012).
Earlier this month the King, who is sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch and the 15th richest monarch in the world, called on his subjects – seven in ten of them earn less than US$2 a day – to supply him with cattle to slaughter for a feast he intends having in Nhlangano, which is in one of the poorest regions of his kingdom.
The April 12 Swazi Uprising Movement said in a statement, ‘With Swazis being so ruthlessly taxed, the one man who does not pay taxes in the country, and yet happens to be the richest, is adamant that he should take the little the country has and use it on a birthday party for himself, his wives and his children. Whatever he will waste means less for us, the poor.’
It added, ‘We plead with the nation to show their disgust at this inhumane greed by simply going about their normal business on the 19th of April because it is not a day of celebration. It should be a day of national mourning. This is a simple plea that does not require the court’s permission. We will have genuine holidays when we will celebrate and commemorate, but next Thursday is a normal work day.’
KING DEMANDS COWS FROM THE POOR