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SADC delegates fight' over accommodation

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EZULWINI—Some of the delegates attending the SADC Extra-ordinary Summit to be held in the country starting today were almost stranded in some hotels around Ezulwini because they had not secured accommodation prior to arriving yesterday.

Though some said they had made bookings, on arrival they found that the rates were too high, which infuriated them.

They were seen arguing with reservation personnel at the Royal Swazi Sun, but they could not be helped. Interestingly some of them opted to leave the hotel after they were told about the rates for staying at the hotels. Supervisors also had a tough time trying to reason with the complaining customers.

Some of delegates said the rates were too high hence asked for assistance in securing accommodation elsewhere.

Their chauffeurs were sent helter-skelter in search of nearby hotels and guest houses.

Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Clifford Mamba said it was not the duty of the state to provide accommodation for some of the delegates.

"Our duty is to make sure Heads of State and their top delegates are accommodated, but their delegate members have to secure their accommodation near to the meeting’s venue," he said.

This is called an advance party where delegates’ accommodation and other expenses are catered for by their countries hence they had to make bookings prior to their arrival in the country.

The ministry assisted them with possible accommodation venues and they had to choose any that suited them.

The summit will be held at Lozitha Palace and is expected to end tomorrow.

Big meeting begins today

MBABANE— SADC Foreign Affairs ministers will meet today to discuss among other things Madagascar’s representation in the summit.

Their meeting will be preceded by that of SADC heads of state. Both meetings will be held at Lozitha Palace.

The ‘new president’ of Madagascar, Andry Rajoelina, is most likely not to attend the summit because SADC may not recognise him, but Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Clifford Mamba could not commit to this, saying this will be known after the meeting today .

President Marc Ravalomanana, who flew to Swaziland after being deposed and is in South Africa, might be in the country today as well.

His possible presence in the meeting could not be established.

He left the country for South Africa on Thursday after staying for three days. He arrived in Swaziland on Monday.

SADC looks for answers

MBABANE—The summit will come out with a collective SADC summit response pertaining to the Madagascar issue.

This will be based on the TROIKA report which will be presented by His Majesty King Mswati III. Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Clifford Mamba said the summit would deliberate and consider a collective SADC response on the issue of Madagascar, the Zimbabwe issue and any other issues that may arise.

Mamba added that the summit would also take stock of the current Zimbabwean government and how SADC can assist that country rehabilitate its economy. In Madagascar President Ravalomanana was overthrown by soldiers and has been seeking refugee in Swaziland, but is currently in South Africa.

Zimbabwe seeks help to rehabilitate its economy after a meltdown due to political crises but has since put in place a collective government which involves all parties.

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