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D 13 juin 2014     H 05:02     A CPS     C 0 messages

The Communist Party of Swaziland (CPS) campaign ‘Not Another Cent for Mswati’ focuses on the need to end the expropriation of the wealth of Swaziland by Mswati III, his 14wives and extensive ‘royal’ family.

This expropriation amounts to the siphoning of wealth and resources by Mswati simply to keep him and his family in luxury. It happens wholly at the expense of the people of Swaziland, who suffer some of the worst poverty and disease in the world.

Mswati receives nearly E55 million a month from the state. This income does not include the King’s income from land and businesses that are supposedly held in trust for the people.

Nor does it include untold income from Mswati’s shadow economy, involving drugs and human trafficking, about which there is much circumstantial evidence.

The annual budget of the Mswati’s government is a whitewash.

It is aimed at diverting attention away from the excesses of Mswati’s exploitation of the country, and of creating the impression that Swaziland is being run for the benefit of the people. It lists figures for improving health, education and social infrastructure that have no expression in reality.

The detailed budget for maintaining the king and his wives is separate from the state budget, and only a few general details are usually available concerning what the king is given.

Despite claims in the past that Mswati has ordered that his budget be frozen, it has in fact increased each year. But the budget for 2014-15 contains no mention of the king’s budget.

The scanty and opaque budget estimates presented in 2013 by the then finance minister Majozi Sithole present expenditure on the ‘King’s Office’ as comprising only CTA vehicle expenses. This is given as some E 5 million, a shadow of actual state spending on Mswati.

However, this year Mswati has given himself a 10% pay rise. His budget is now an eye watering E658.9 million(US$61 million), according to AFP news agency. This is nearly E55 million (US$ 5.1 million) a month.

Mswati’s fortune is estimated at some E2.2 billion (US$200 million). He also derives vast incomes from land and businesses that are supposed to be ‘held in trust’ for the Swazi people.

Mswati maintains 13 palaces, mainly for his wives and mother. The budget for on-going building work on and around the palaces is about E136.1 million (US$12.6 million).

We have seen how some of the cash Mswati gets is thrown around. The King’s wives’ routine ‘shopping’ trips to the US, Europe and the Middle East clock up millions of US dollars, as do the King’s own trips to visit his royal friends in the UK and elsewhere. Mswati also has fleets of luxury cars and a massive private jet to play with.

Mswati’s wealth and lifestyle consciously rubs the noses of ordinary Swazi’s in the dirt of poverty and degradation. Set against his bloated spending is the dire situation of the majority.

70% or more of the Swazi population live in poverty. The US think tank Freedom House gives a figure of 66% of the population being unable to meet basic food needs.

It is our experience as CPS activists researching poverty levels in our country that families may manage to meet basic food needs but still be living in deep poverty with poor or non-existent basic amenities, which is why we find that most estimates of poverty to be very conservative.

The CPS believes that only by ending the monarchy altogether will it be possible to ensure that our country’s wealth has a chance of being channeled to the people equitably.

This wealth must be used for the people’s needs : for health, education, housing, and water and sanitation.

This is why, in our proposals for a transitional phase to democracy and freedom, we have long advocated emergency economic planning and roll-out to address the worst aspects of wealth hoarding and to tackle the worst aspects of poverty, disease, hunger and insecurity.

Overall, the CPS campaign ‘Not Another Cent for Mswati’ seeks to point the way towards addressing the economic dimension of our future transition to democracy.



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