King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, is to attend the British Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.
At the end of a week that saw King Mswati’s state forces brutally suppress legitimate protests in his kingdom, the BBC Newsnight programme in the UK revealed last night (15 April 2011) that the King and an entourage of 50 (yes, FIFTY) people will be in London for the wedding.
The news – not confirmed by the British Royal Family – has already provoked anger among democracy campaigners.
Thobile Gwebu, coordinator of the Swaziland Vigil UK, told Newsnight ‘It will show that the British monarchy is supportive of what King Mswati is doing, because they are allowing him to come to the Royal Wedding, even though people back home are demonstrating they’re not happy about the situation back home.’ She said people were demonstrating about the political and economic situation.
This week, King Mswati was criticised by a wide range of governments, human rights groups, trade unions and others for the brutal way his police and troops repressed a protest on Tuesday (12 April 2011). Union and student leaders have been arrested and charged with terrorism offences.
Newsnight reported that King Mswati will leave Swaziland on 26 April to attend the wedding on 29 April. He will stay at the Dorchester hotel at a cost of £450 (E5,000) a night.