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.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs