Thursday, July 7, 2011


The Times of Swaziland newspaper has censored itself in its coverage of the African Development Bank (AfDB) loan.

It reports today (7 July 2011) that in February 2011 the AfDB agreed to loan Swaziland $124 million.

The Times, the kingdom’s only independent daily newspaper, was following up a report that appeared in Business Day, South Africa, (and on this blog) yesterday (6 July 2011).

The Times reports (correctly) that the AfDB would only make the loan if ‘fiscal changes’ were made in Swaziland.

So far, so good. But this is actually what Business Day reported, ‘The amount [of the loan]was to be released only when Swaziland acceded to certain fiscal conditions, including further financial transparency and reining in the discretionary powers that King Mswati has over the budget.’

No mention of the criticism of King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, in the Times’ report.

The Swazi media continue to peddle the lie that King Mswati is on the side of his subjects. It’s not true. He is an impediment to progress in tackling Swaziland’s financial crisis because he will not give up any of his power.

The AfDB was alluding to the King’s constant interference in the government of his kingdom. It is usual each year in his speech when he opens the Swazi Parliament for him to give directions to his government on priorities for the coming year, including how money should be spent.

The financial disaster that is Sikhuphe International Airport is King Mswati’s fault. The airport is not needed, but it is the king’s vanity project. He has convinced himself (but no one else who has any sense) that the airport will make Swaziland into a ‘First World’ nation.

The Swazi media are also not reporting that King Mswati took a 23 percent increase in his budget this year, while most government departments were forced to make a 20 percent cut. The king has had a 69 percent increase in his budget since 2009.

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