The best he could come up with in his speech at the opening of parliament yesterday (4 February 2011) was to tell his subjects they must ‘work harder’.
But, how are the 7,000 public servants, who must lose their jobs because successive governments handpicked by the King himself have destroyed the Swazi economy, meant to work harder?
And, what about the countless workers in the private sector who have lost their jobs because the government, headed by Barnabas Dlamini, the illegally-appointed Prime Minister, has gone broke and can no longer buy goods and services from local companies?
The King showed he had no real grasp of Swaziland’s economic misfortune when he told his subjects, Swaziland would ‘continue to attract investors to the kingdom of eswatini because we remain a safe, peaceful and stable environment for investment’.
The truth, of course, is that Swaziland has not been able to attract investors. Only last week the Central Bank of Swaziland could sell only one-fifth of the E750 million (US$106 million) bonds it needed to so the government could pay its short term expenses, including public sector wages.
King Mswati also said that Swaziland would ‘continue to create a friendly environment for local and foreign investors. We shall endeavour to encourage businesses to expand their operations locally.’
But as all international indices show, Swaziland is one of the worst nations on earth to set up businesses. And that’s why so many companies give the kingdom a wide berth when it comes to investment.
In a breathtaking show of economic illiteracy, King Mswati told his subjects, ‘Each one of us should put in an extra effort so that we can double our national output.’
Does King Mswati know what ‘double our national output’ actually means?
Of course, no media in Swaziland are drawing attention to this. Worse they are hailing the King as a great leader. Musa Ndlangamandla, editor-in-chief of the Swazi Observer group, the newspapers in effect owned and edited by King Mswati, wrote in the Weekend Observer today, that the king ‘laid down the roadmap for Swaziland to unshackle itself from the quick slide to economic abyss into which it has plunged since 2003’. Did he? I’d invite Ndlangamandla to point to the bit of the speech where he did that.
Ndlangamandla also wrote that the king showed evidence of ‘maturity and astute leadership’. Again, Ndlangamandla, show me the words.
The sad truth is all that we got from King Mswati yesterday were generalities and platitudes. Last week all that he could come up with was an exhortation to his subjects to pray to get the kingdom out of the economic mess.
We are no nearer solving the economic meltdown and pretending that we are will not help at all.