While budgets controlled by the Swaziland Government are be slashed by 20 percent this coming year, King Mswati III is to get 23 percent MORE from the Swazi people for the upkeep of himself and his Royal Family.
And worse: the cost of King Mswati, sub-Saharan Africa's last absolute monarch, has INCREASED by 63 percent when compared with what he took from his subjects in 2009/2010.
This information was contained in the budget last week, but the information was carefully kept from the Swazi people.
Majozi Sithole, the Swazi Finance Minister, in his budget speech praised, ‘their Majesties for their continued support, wisdom, guidance and their insight into the emerging trends brought about by the global economic meltdown. As the socio-economic challenges continue to face the country, their Majesties concern and involvement in joining government to tackle these problems deserves acknowledgement and appreciation.’
That’s what Sithole said, but it just isn’t true. Because, while his subjects are suffering under the cosh of the economic meltdown, King Mswati and his Royal Family are set to get more this year than ever before.
And, Minister Sithole knew this, yet he claimed the King had ‘concern and involvement’ in tackling the economic crisis.
But we are not fooled: the king has no ‘concern’ for his subjects and his only ‘involvement’ in the economic crisis is to make sure that he continues to get more of Swaziland’s wealth, while everybody else suffers.
Sithole carefully avoided giving any information in his speech and media interviews later about how much the king would cost his subjects.
Here are the figures. In the budget the king and his family will get E210 million (US$30 million). That’s E40 million MORE than he got in 2010/2011, when he got E170 million. And it’s E80 million MORE than the E129.5 million he got in 2009/2010.
In a speech to the kingdom in January 2011 the king asked his subjects to pray to help get Swaziland out of its economic mess. I’ll leave it to readers to decide on an alternative solution . . .