You will remember that the king said the first planes would land by the end of March 2010 and when that date seemed unlikely his hangers-on said it would be May - in time for the start of the FIFA World Cup next week in neighbouring South Africa.
The planes have not arrived because the airport has not been finished.
King Mswati himself personally was the spearhead for the airport. Nobody wanted a new international airport until he said what a good idea one would be. Then the sycophants who surround the king went ahead and started building one.
The last published estimate was that Sikhuphe would cost about one billion US dollars. That’s 1,000 dollars for every man, woman and child in the kingdom, ruled by King Mswati, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch. What a waste of money for a kingdom where nearly seventy percent of the king’s one million subjects live on less than one dollar a day.
I’ve written many times that Sikhuphe was a vanity project for the king and there was no credible reason to build it.
This hasn’t stopped the Swazi Observer, the newspaper in effect owned by King Mswati, today (4 June 2010) blaming the decision to build the airport on the Swaziland Government. (Note to Observer: King Mswati tells the government what to do. If he doesn’t wasn’t it, it doesn’t happen. Therefore the blame is the king’s).
Mthunzi Maziya, writing in the Observer, at least has the courage to state the obvious, ‘it is clearly not good for the country to have big projects like Sikhuphe Airport’.
Better make sure the king doesn’t read this Maziya.