News

Swazi Opposition Urges King to Cancel Birthday Celebrations

PUDEMO founding member Mphandlana Shongwe says Swaziland is experiencing economic hardships

His Majesty Mswati III King of the Kingdom Swaziland
His Majesty Mswati III King of the Kingdom Swaziland

Multimedia

Audio
James Butty

A founding member of Swaziland’s banned opposition People’s United Democratic Movement [PUDEMO] party says King Mswati III should cancel his upcoming April 19th birthday celebrations.

The estimated cost of the celebrations is $652,000.

But PUDEMO founding member Mphandlana Shongwe said the current economic hardships confronting the Swazi people make it imperative for the king to cancel this year’s celebrations.

“In times of economic hardship, one would expect a reasonable institution to postpone or cancel or even foot the bill for itself,” he said.

Shongwe said King Mswati III, believed to be among the world’s 15 richest monarchs with a personal fortune of more than $100 million, should be able to foot the cost of his own birthday celebration.

“It is very unbelievable that the institution of the monarchy can run out of funds. Yet, it controls almost all the companies in the country,” Shongwe said.

He said Swazis are overburdened by taxes, and should not be asked to contribute to the king’s birthday celebration.

Shongwe said the king is welcome to celebrate his birthday as long as Swazis do not have to foot the bill.

Government spokesman Percy Simelane accused the opposition of over-exaggeration.

“As expected, the opposition normally comes out shooting down anything to do with the king or government. And even when they are serious, people don’t normally take them seriously,” Simelane said.

He said King Mswati III was able to find money from non-public sources for the celebrations, and that preparations are far advanced for the celebrations.

“Last year we didn’t have the celebrations because we were going through tough times. It is better this year. The king, from other coffers rather than public coffers, was able to put together a small budget for the celebrations. It did not take much money from the public funds apart from maybe transport, if it were,” he said.

The country’s home affairs minister announced early this month that the King has ordered host chiefs to make cows available to be slaughtered for his birthday celebrations.

Simelane said it is a tradition to contribute to the king’s birthday celebration, and chiefs are never forced.

“Normally when there are celebrations such as this one, the chiefs are not forced to pay anything. It’s a tradition that they contribute towards that particular occasion. Customarily, we normally contribute to the king or to chiefs themselves at this point in time,” Simelane said.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs