Thursday, June 11, 2009


The Swazi people are to be put in even deeper debt to pay for King Mswati III’s folly, the Siphuphe International Airport.

The Kuwait Government announced yesterday (10 June 2009) that it would loan Swaziland the equivalent of 12.5 million US dollars to build a road to the airport that is presently being built in the wilderness in Swaziland.

That 12.5 million dollars is the equivalent of more than the annual capital expenditure for education and training announced in this year’s budget.

It will take the people of Swaziland 20 years to pay off the loan.

Siphuphe International Airport is a vanity project started by King Mswati and is being built in one of Swaziland’s many wilderness areas in the Lubombo region. Building started at the behest of King Mswati and Sikhuphe was billed as an airport that would be a hub for travellers coming into the continent of Africa. The idea was they’d fly into Sikhuphe and then change planes and fly on to their intended destinations.

There is no objective analysis that supports the need for a new airport. Swaziland’s present airport at Matsapha is and always has been underused.

In 2003, the Swazi Government ignored advice from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) about participation in unviable projects, and went ahead anyway with building the airport.

The IMF said pouring money into the airport threatened ‘to crowd out budgetary resources for meeting the country’s urgent social needs and to weaken sentiment among donors’.

The kingdom is so broke that earlier this year the Swazi Government announced it would not abide by its constitutional commitment to free primary school education for all children, because it could not afford to pay for it.

What would you rather have education for all or an airport for the king?

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