In Eswatini, a delegation from the Southern African Development Community continues to meet with various stakeholders. This is part of their fact-finding mission following the citizens of Eswatini taking to the streets a few weeks ago to demand democracy.
During the protest action, infrastructure was destroyed and more than 70 people were allegedly killed by law enforcement agencies. This is the second time SADC is visiting Eswatini this month. SADC is currently engaging pro-democracy groups such as political leaders and civil organisations.
Among other things, the residents of Eswatini are advocating for the unbanning of political parties. They also want to be allowed to vote for a prime minister of their choice. Speaking on behalf of the Swaziland Multi-Stakeholder Forum, Mary Pais Da Silva said their meeting with the SADC delegation on Monday, was a success.
The monarch of eSwatini named a new prime minister, disregarding calls for democratic reforms as police cracked down on demonstrations.
In his first public statement since violent demonstrations broke out in the kingdom last month, King Mswati III declared that former pension fund chairman Cleopas Dlamini will replace Prime Minister Ambrose Dlamini, who died in December after acquiring COVID-19.
Swaziland’s King Mswati’s lavish personal lifestyle has come under scrutiny in the wake of the millions of dollars he has spent over the years, including the cash laid out to celebrate his birthday, as the country continues to grapple with impoverishment.
Mswati allegedly has fleets of top-of-the-range BMW and Mercedes cars and his family travels the world in luxury while seven in 10 of his 1.1 million subjects live in abject poverty with incomes less than the equivalent of R 29 per day. And his extravagant lifestyle dates back a long time.
A trip to Japan and Australia by some of the King’s wives in 2013 was expected to cost R 145 million. Some of the King’s 13 wives apparently went on a shopping excursion to Las Vegas in July 2012, where 66 individuals reportedly stayed in 10 separate villas, each costing R 35 000 per night.
His wives continue to live a lavish lifestyle. King Mswati’s 14th wife, LaMashwama, whom he married when she was 19 years old in 2017, wore a Franck Muller Double Mystery Full Diamond watch priced at R2 240 000. All this extravagance in a country where the majority live in extreme poverty.
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