It is a clear indication that ordinary people thousands of miles away care more about the Swazi poor than King Mswati. People in a small community called Conway, in the state of Arkansas, in the United States, spent a weekend helping to pack 272,160 mobile meals to send to hungry children in Swaziland.
The Log Cabin Democrat newspaper in Arkansas reported volunteers worked round the clock packing ‘Manna Packs’, consisting of rice, dehydrated vegetables, soy nuggets and vitamins.
People in Arkansas came in their hundreds to help. One volunteer interviewed by the newspaper said, ‘We just went on Facebook, Twitter and email and said what we needed and the help started pouring in from everywhere.’ This was as part of a drive called Feed My Starving Children.
While children need charity meals in Swaziland, King Mswati continues to enjoy a lavish lifestyle with a personal fortune estimated by Forbes magazine in 2009 to be US$200 million. He has 13 palaces, a private jet airplane and fleets of Mercedes and BMW cars and a Rolls Royce. The Mercedes alone are estimated to have cost US$5million.
Meanwhile, seven in ten of the king’s 1.1 million subjects live in abject poverty, earning less than US$1 a day. Last year the world was shocked to learn of a woman living near Siteki who was so poor she had to eat cow dung to fill her stomach in order to take ARV drugs for her HIV condition.
A total of 115,712 people face food shortages in 2012/2013, according to the Swaziland Vulnerability Assessment Committee. The number has increased by 88,511 from 2011.
KING’S VANITY COMES BEFORE THE POOR
LAVISH KING SPENDS ON HIS PALACES
COST OF SWAZILAND ROYAL FAMILY