Army personnel in Swaziland have been forced to make a contribution from their salaries towards the cost King Mswati III’s 50th birthday celebration.
Previously, police officers in the kingdom were also made to pay.
Swaziland, where the King rules as sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, is marking the King’s birthday and the 50th anniversary of independence from Great Britain with a so-called 50/50 celebration on 19 April 2018.
According to the Times of Swaziland, the only independent daily newspaper in the kingdom, private soldiers have to pay E100; corporals E110; lieutenants E270; and generals E600 (US$51).
Earlier in March it was revealed that police officers were being forced to contribute. A constable will have to contribute E50, with payments of E100 from sergeants and E150 from assistant inspectors. Inspectors and assistant superintendents will contribute E200 and E300 respectively while superintendents, E400.
The money will be used towards paying the US$7.5 million the Swazi Government will pay for a fleet of luxury BMW cars to transport dignitaries on the day. The cost of the cars alone bust the US$1.7 million budget the government allowed itself for the festivities.
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