From Swazi Media Commentary:
DEFIANT TEACHERS DELIVER PETITION
Police stopped about 3,000 members of the Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT) marching across Mbabane city centre this morning.
They had wanted to deliver a petition for a 4.5 percent salary increase, but were stopped from doing so.
Eventually they delivered a petition to the Minister of Public Service, Magwebetane Mamba.
The teachers had wanted to march through the city centre but were stopped and eventually allowed to go on an alternative route, far away from the city centre.
The Centre for Human Rights, Swaziland, reports, ‘The march was characterised by threats of violence from security agents. Two workers were unlawfully detained by riot police, and this seemed to anger workers who retaliated by throwing stones at the police vehicles into which the two were taken. They were promptly released and the march continued.’
Swaziland: Queen’s Shoes Cost 3 Years’ Pay
27 May 2012
Inkhosikati LaMbikiza, the King’s first wife, wore shoes that cost £995 (US$1,559) to a lunch hosted by the UK’s Queen Elizabeth II to mark her Diamond Jubilee, earlier this month (May 2012).
Her shoes were described by reporters as a ‘rather eye-catching pair of Pearly Queen-style shoes with feathery pom-poms on the toes and heels.’ They were trimmed with jewels, sequins and feathers.
She also wore a black and white spotted dress with feathery trimmings to match her shoes and a grey clutch bag.
The King is regularly criticised in media across the globe for his extravagant lifestyle. Media in Swaziland, where King Mswati is sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, dare not criticise him. Last week the Times of Swaziland, the only independent daily newspaper in the kingdom, featured a report about LaMbikiza’s shoes, gushing that she had received ‘rave reviews’ for her dress sense while in the UK.
In Swaziland, seven-in-ten of King Mswati’s subjects are so poor they cannot afford shoes of any kind. They earn less than US$2 a day and it would take them at least 779 working days, or three years, to earn the price of LaMbikiza’s shoes.
While more than half of Swaziland’s 1.1 million population rely on some form of food aid to keep them from hunger, King Mswati has 13 palaces in Swaziland, one for each of his wives; fleets of BMW and Mercedes cars and at least one Rolls Royce. Last month, for his 44th birthday he received a private jet worth US$17 million as a gift. He refused to reveal who bought it for him, leading to speculation that it was paid for out of public funds.
The cost of the King’s five-day trip to the UK for the Diamond Jubilee has been estimated to be at least US$794,500.
Police fired teargas and rubber bullets at school pupils as the teachers’ strike in Swaziland entered day three: here.
Don’t expect King Mswati III of Swaziland to follow the example of the Spanish Royal family and take a pay cut to help save the kingdom’s economy: here.
London mayor Boris Johnson was forced to admit today to handing over City Hall cash to a disgraced company which told unpaid stewards to sleep under London Bridge the night before the Queen’s gaudy Thames pageant: here.