One of Swaziland’s main opposition groups has told King Mswati III to cancel his birthday party later this month and use the money on his poverty-stricken subjects instead.
The People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO) was outraged that the king, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, demanded that his impoverished subjects donate their cattle for his birthday feast.
The party to celebrate the king’s 44th birthday on 19 April 2012 will be in the Shiselweni region, the second poorest in the kingdom, where seven out of 10 people earn less than US$2 a day.
PUDEMO, which like all political parties and opposition groups is banned in Swaziland, in a statement, said E1.8 billion from a payment of E7 billion made by the Southern African Customs Union had been apportioned by the king.
It said, ‘While the king, chiefs and their hangers-on will be dining and wining, orphans, old aged, disabled and the majority of young unemployed people will be scavenging for the next meal. 75% of people under this region live on food hampers from World Food Program, yet their land is fertile enough to feed them all, only if they had a government with a sound agricultural policy and that puts the interest of our people first.’
PUDEMO called for the celebrations to be cancelled and for the money to be used toward building a hospital in the region.
ANGER AT KING’S DEMAND ON THE POOR
KING DEMANDS COWS FROM THE POOR