Africa

Royal riot in Swaziland: monarch furious over comments by US ambassador

In Swaziland, now called Eswatini, people reacted furiously to the sharp criticism of outgoing US ambassador Lisa Peterson about the spindly spending pattern of King Mswati III.

“The comments were below the status and dignity of a member of the diplomatic corps,” said the angry comment in the palace-controlled newspaper Observer.

“This is a sad and disappointing farewell to the Ambassador, which is destroying all the good work she has done in recent years. It’s a good thing she’s leaving.”

US Ambassador to Swaziland Lisa Peterson
US Ambassador to Swaziland Lisa Peterson

The commentary is considered by the observers to be the view of the palace.

Peterson did not mince words in a farewell conversation with news media from eSwatini. She wondered if development aid made sense at the time when the king and his family indulged in the purchase of expensive cars and trips to Disneyland and New York.

Tax money

“We have come to the point where you wonder why our tax money is going here. Why should my children’s tax money be spent on health care in this country when it is clear that the king has too much money and does not know what to do with it,” said Peterson.

King Mswati (52) had received eleven new Rolls-Royces in December, the question of whether they were a gift in exchange for favors or an irresponsible expense of over 4 million. Peterson thought that royal expenditure should be put under the limit.

Royal riot in Swaziland: monarch furious over comments by US ambassador
©AP/Dmitry Feoktistov – King Mswati III of Eswatini

These are funded from the treasury and the parliament is not allowed to put a brake on them according to the constitution. Time to change the constitution, said the US ambassador.

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