Mugabe’s invited to Swaziland’s independence celebration

Swaziland : Mugabe's Invitation Condemned .
The official invitation of Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe to be part of
the royal celebration of Swaziland's 40 years of independence from British
rule is generating intense criticism in the Southern African sub region.

Swaziland’s main opposition People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO)

party has condemned the invitation as a sham and an affront to the people of

Swaziland. The opposition party questioned why the government would invite

what it describes as a tyrant to be part of a celebration with

democratically elected heads of state in the region. PUDEMO also questioned

the cost of the planned celebration, which is estimated at 50 million

emalangeni (which is approximately  $6,5-million).

Some political analysts, however, say Mugabe’s invitation is an attempt by

the Swazi King to make peace with the Zimbabwe leader after he reportedly

offended Mugabe when he chaired a meeting of regional leaders, which called

for Zimbabwe’s election run-off to be postponed. Mario Masuku is the leader

of Swaziland’s opposition party PUDEMO. He tells reporter Peter Clottey from

the capital, Mbabane that most Swazi’s are not pleased with Mugabe’s


“We are not only frowning on the invitation of Robert Mugabe. The

celebrations themselves are unwarranted, it is just a waste of money for the

Swazi nation, but worse still we now believe they are all people of the same

team for King Mswati to invite a dictator that has violated fundamental

human rights of the people of Zimbabwe to be brought here. It is an insult

or adding salt into wounds of the people of Swaziland. Already people of

Swaziland who are poor and unemployed are unhappy about the celebration. But

the invitation of Robert Mugabe is adding salt into the wounds, and as far

as PUDEMO is concerned, we think it is completely unnecessary and an affront

to the fundamental rights of the people,” Masuku noted.

He describes the estimated cost of the planned celebration as completely

unjustified, which he said shows the kings profligacy of spending the

people’s money without caring for the suffering masses.

“I believe that the money could have been used into improving of the stand

of living of the people of Swaziland. Currently, there are people who are

suffering from the drought, people who are unemployed the money could have

gone into improvement of the health facilities, the money could have gone

into the improvement of the education standards of Swaziland. We believe

that the king if he wanted a birthday for himself, he could have done so

from his own resources, but not from the people’s taxes,” he said.

Masuku said PUDEMO is against what he described as callous lavishness.

“One thing that PUDEMO is saying, and I think it must be understood that we

do not approve such extravagance expenditures against poverty. If the king

has decided to invite his friends, you would identify what kind of

government or head of state he is by inviting similar kinds of heads of

state. Any dictator would invite a dictator to go to table with him, and

therefore, we believe that if push had come to shove, definitely, the

government of wouldn’t and Swaziland shouldn’t have invited people like

Robert Mugabe to come here and mingle with democratic heads of state if ever

that 40 years of celebrations are worthwhile to celebrate,” Masuku pointed


Masuku adds that it was about time the Swazi government comes around

genuinely to discuss ways of transforming the country into a democracy.


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