“King Mswati of Swaziland, ruler of some of the poorest people in the world, has sent his favourite wives on a [$6.3]-million shopping jaunt through Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Reports from the kingdom said that the king had dispatched at least five of his 13 wives and dozens of retainers to France, Italy, Dubai and Taiwan on a secret tour last week, using [$6,3]-million from the state budget. In Swaziland it is a criminal offence to criticise the private life of the king, Africa’s last absolute monarch. Swaziland is home to about 1.2 million people, more than two thirds of whom live in abject poverty on less than R10 a day. More than a quarter of the adult population has HIV — one of the highest ratios in the world. The king enjoys a personal fortune of about [$229 million], as the beneficiary of two funds created by his father, King Sobhuza II, in trust for the nation. He also receives money from the national budget for his family’s upkeep. Last year this totalled [$19]-million — more than was set aside for education.”

Via Dan Moshenberg


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