Are the rats trying to leave the sinking ship that is Swaziland?
Wealthy people in Swaziland are said to removing their money from Swazi banks and sending it to South Africa. They are also not renewing their savings and investment bonds in Swaziland and instead are investing in South Africa.
Musa Hlophe, the Co-ordinator of the Swaziland Coalition of Concerned Civic Organisations (SCCCO), says, ‘When you ask their closest friends why they are doing this, they tell you it is because these people are convinced the Swaziland political system is sinking. People are taking their monies out of Swaziland so that when we are de-linked from the Rand and the Lilangeni [Swaziland’s currency] plummets to nothingness, their monies will be safe.’
Writing in his weekly column in the Times Sunday, an independent newspaper in Swaziland, Hlophe says, ‘These, of course, are the mercenaries who masquerade as patriots during the day, appearing to love our king and country and yet, they will not tell him the truth, which is that this country is broke and that until it democratises, no one in their sane minds, will consider its pleas for help.’
Hlophe is right: and these must be worrying days for King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch; Barnabas Dlamini, the man the King illegally appointed Prime Minister; and the cabinet handpicked by King Mswati. The Swaziland middle class are deserting them. And as recent events in Egypt and Tunisia have demonstrated once the middle class turn against you it encourages the people out onto the street.
The ordinary people in Swaziland already have nothing to lose by getting rid of the rotten political system in the kingdom. But, until now the middle classes believed they could continue to benefit from the unequal society in Swaziland that has King Mswati at its head.
Middle class people may be sending their money abroad for safety, but it’ll be a lot more difficult for them to take themselves abroad unless they want to sit and fester in a refugee camp outside Johannesburg.
No, they will realise very soon that it is in their interests (mercenary or not) to stay and fight. That moment may be closer than King Mswati realises.