Swaziland King Spends Over $15 Million On Wives’ Cars Amid Salary Protests
Mswati III the king of Eswatini, a landlocked Southern African country formerly known as Swaziland, has lavished millions of dollars on brand new Rolls Royces as gifts for his wives, which number up to 15.
Earlier this week, videos and images showing the luxury cars in transit went viral on social media. South African investigative journalist, Mzilikazi wa Africa shared in a Twitter thread a video and images of the cars loaded on 4 trucks:
“HEARTBREAKING NEWS: Amidst all the economic challenges eSwazitini, King Mswati III yesterday decided to bless his wives with very expensive wheels”
He added in another tweet, “Unconfirmed reports suggest that it was 4 trucks loaded with 20 Rolls Royce and one Rolls Royce Cullinan”
HEARTBREAKING NEWS: Amidst all the economic challenges eSwazitini, King Mswati III yesterday decided to bless his wives with very expensive wheels pic.twitter.com/QzGTT1uvfC
— Mzilikazi wa Afrika (@IamMzilikazi) October 30, 2019
A source, from eSwatini’s Ministry of Information Communications and Technology, confirmed to South African media outlet The Citizen that the king had indeed bought the vehicles. According to the source, the vehicles arrived on Tuesday but was unsure of the exact number.
King Mswati III is Africa’s last absolute monarch. He is renowned for his practice of polygamy and his extravagant lifestyle. According to the Forbes 2009 list of the World’s 15 Richest Royals, King Mswati III is worth a reported $200 million. The king owns 2 private jets and fleet of cars which includes a $625,000 Rolls Royce, a $500,000 Maybach 62, a BMW X6 and 20 Mercedes Benz S600 Pullman.
Eswatini is a lower-middle-income country, but its income distribution is highly skewed, with an estimated 20% of the population controlling 80% of the nation’s wealth. With an estimated 28% unemployment rate and about 63% of the population living below the poverty line.
The small country was rocked by a series of strikes late last month by teachers and workers over the cost of living. Angry teachers and government workers clashed with police as they rallied to demand better pay and lower living costs in Africa’s last absolute monarchy.
Civil servants in eSwatini took to the streets again on Thursday demanding better pay after the delivery of luxury cars to the royal family caused a fresh uproar in the tiny African kingdom.
The Trade Union Congress of Swaziland (TUCOSWA) expressed its “utmost shock and disappointment” in a statement:
“The purchase happened at a time when the country is reported to be in dire financial constraints.”
“Rolls-Royce cars are a luxury… we need basic commodities,”the union said, adding that the government had refused to raise the salaries of public workers for three years claiming it was not affordable.
Others have also taken to social media to react:
King Mswati's wives live a life of luxury by force. They do not want to live like that. They want to be with the people in the dirty streets of Swaziland.. Wow.. Seriously.. Mxm!!! Sanusinxilela 😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂
— 🔥🇿🇦FREEPHILA🇿🇦🔥 (@PhilaMadlingozi) October 31, 2019
While the people of Swaziland continue starving, their King spoils his wife materials by purchasing 19 Rolls Royce all worth £12 million. King Mswati doesn't care much pic.twitter.com/pFR6HmFl41
— Khali Wheezy (@wheezy_Pops) October 31, 2019
Vuyani Mbongiseni Dlamini “VMD” @Vuvuyani:
“African leader’s sometimes are impetous and irrational they need a paradigm shift we need more pan african thinkers, leaders and doers like @PaulKagame Who has bewitched you foolish Africans? 🤔🤔 I’m sure he’s even dead whoever bewitched us. We need help.”
“Out of curiosity, I’m just wondering though that on which roads are they gonna be driven on when the roads are either tinny single lanes/ got pot holes;unless ofcourse they are driven in their yards because ” Nkhulunkhulu Mnikati wetibusiso” gave a voice that they should get that”
“And we wonder why no one in the world takes Africans seriously. We allow such things to happen. Here in SA we repeatedly vote for people who have stolen billions from us. We can necklace a thief for stealing a cellphone but we can’t necklace a politician stealing billions Wtf!”
“It’s heartbreaking that yet another African leader doesn’t give a damn about his own people. How is he any different from our leaders in the rest of the African continent? Are there any African leaders that still care about their people?”