Saturday, April 16, 2011


This is from the blog of Paul Mason, the BBC TV Newsnight reporter who broke the story about Swaziland’s King Mswati III, attending the British Royal Wedding.


Swazi King heads for Abbey – as tear gas drifts at home

21:16 UK time, Friday, 15 April 2011

Paul Mason

Newsnight has learned that the King of Swaziland, Mswati III, is planning to visit London for the Royal Wedding, bringing an entourage of "around fifty" according to sources inside Swaziland.

Members of the Swazi royal family have told relatives they expect to stay at London's Dorchester Hotel, where a double room costs £450 a night.

Swaziland's economy has nosedived under the impact of the global financial crisis, an aid freeze by NGOs worried about corruption, and declining exports. 63% of its population earn less than $1.25 a day, and 80% earn less than $2.

The news comes as Swaziland's political situation remains tense. On Tuesday police in Swaziland broke up a 1,000 strong demonstration using water cannon and teargas, having previously arrested the entire leadership of the country's trade union movement.

Meanwhile two student leaders arrested during the protest on 12 April have been charged with terror-related offences after police claimed to have found explosives at the opposition's headquarters.

Buckingham Palace said they were "not in a position to confirm or deny" that King Mswati is on the guest list for the Royal Wedding. The Dorchester refused to confirm or deny that King Mswati will be their guest next week.

Buckingham Palace have so far declined to issue a VIP guest list for the wedding but I understand that, while no non-Royal heads of state have been invited, "over 40" members of foreign royal families have been invited "as is the protocol" on occasions like this.

Click here for my 2006 exposee of the royal-sponsored "goat cure" for HIV in Swaziland.

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