A chance to meet Swaziland’s absolute monarch King Mswati III is being offered as a prize to encourage his subjects to send him ‘warm’ 50th birthday greetings by SMS.
People will have to pay E5 each time they send a message. It was not reported where the money would be spent.
The prize is part of a drive organised by the Swazi Observer, a newspaper in effect owned by the King, and Swazi Mobile.
The Observer on Saturday reported (7 April 2018) that people could SMS the King ‘warm greetings’ ahead of his 50th birthday on 19 April 2018.
Mbongeni Mbingo, Swazi Observer Managing Editor, said the newspaper would ensure that people who send the most messages accompany them to deliver the messages to the King. ‘If you send the most messages you stand a chance to meet the King. Who would not want to meet the King or at least come close to him? This is a chance of a lifetime,’ the Observer reported him saying.
King Mswati rules Swaziland as sub-Sharan Africa’s last absolute monarch. He lives a lavish lifestyle with at least 13 palaces and fleets of top-of-the-range BMW and Mercedes cars. He is to take delivery of his second private jet airplane before his birthday. Meanwhile, seven in ten of his estimated 1.1 million subjects live in abject poverty with incomes less than E24 (US$2) per day.
Mbingo warned readers not to ‘abuse’ the chance to send the King messages. The Observer reported, ‘Mbingo noted that Swazis are known for their respect hence it is not anticipated that they engage in unscrupulous and uncalled for behaviour throughout the period of the SMS line. He reminded people that the messages will be published in the Swazi Observer hence they do not expect any unpleasant messages although they would go out of their way to ensure that those messages meant for the cause are published.’
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