Swaziland’s King Mswati III, who happens to also be sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, has told his subjects to stop protesting about the kingdom’s economic meltdown and instead, just work harder.
His comments come as thousands of people took to the streets of Mbabane to call for the government to quit and for economic changes.
The following report is from the AFP news agency.
Work harder, don't protest Swazi king says
(AFP) – 19 March 2011
MBABANE — Swaziland?s King Mswati III called for his people to ‘work harder and sacrifice more’, instead of protesting against the country’s economic downturn, state media said today (19 March 2011).
Thousands of public workers marched through the capital yesterday after reports the government was planning to cut salaries and jobs to comply with demands by the International Monetary Fund to get its finances in order.
‘It helps no one to go to the streets and cause disruption in times when the country is buckling under the pressure of the economic downturn.
‘We need to work even harder and sacrifice even more today for a better tomorrow. The storms shall pass for sure,’ Mswati told the state-run Observer newspaper.
The secretary general of the National Public Service and Allied Workers Union, the country’s largest public workers organisation, said the king’s call was laughable.
‘The economic crisis is the symptom of a very serious disease and we must deal with the root cause -- a political system that is not transparent or accountable to the people,’ its secretary general Vincent Dlamini told AFP.
‘This is a system just for the elite and the royal family and as long as it is in place there is no way we are going to heal the economic wounds we are suffering from at the moment,’ he said.
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