3 March 2018

Swaziland: 'Cabinet Defies King Over Budget'

A newspaper in Swaziland in effect owned by autocratic monarch King Mswati III has accused the government of defying the King's orders over the kingdom's national budget.

The Observer on Saturday (part of the Swazi Observer group) said the government ministers defied the King's 'command'. It said a command from the King was 'usually followed to the letter'.

The Observer is on record saying it will always support the King. The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) in a report on press freedom in Swaziland once called the Observer a 'pure propaganda machine for the royal family'.

The Observer reported on Saturday (3 March 2018), 'In a move that has been seen as defiance to His Majesty King Mswati III, Cabinet has delivered a budget that is short of the King's command on two major areas that pertain to capital projects.'

It added the King had given instructions during his speech from the throne opening Parliament on 16 February 2018 that certain projects 'would definitely be undertaken'.

The newspaper added, 'These projects include the new Parliament building, which Cabinet has deferred to the future and the national stadium which has also not been included in the Budget.

'Usually a command by the King is followed to the letter hence it is surprising to a number of commentators how an oversight like that could occur or the projects have been left on purpose.'

Political parties in Swaziland are banned from taking part in elections and the King appoints government ministers. The Prime Minister Barnabas Dlamini has never been elected to Parliament.

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