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KING DOESN’T HAVE US$200 MILLION

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image His majesty the King gestures in a previous interview with Times journalists.

LOZITHA – His Majesty the King has come out for  the first time to refute allegations being circulated around the world that he has E2 billion in personal wealth.


The allegations are being repeatedly reported by Forbes Magazine, an American business magazine owned by Forbes Incorporated, headquartered in New York. 
Ingwenyama set the record straight in an exclusive interview with Reuters at Lozitha Palace last month which has seen 52 newspapers in Europe publishing it.
His Majesty’s estimated personal wealth has been in the international spotlight for many years. However, no one has ever denied the allegation until the king himself came out to do so.


It can also be said that the allegation that the king is one of the richest monarchs has been on news networks for several years.
Many Swazis access the internet through their computers and mobile phones.


Forbes Magazine, for instance, listed the King among the richest monarchs in the world.
It can be said that His Majesty’s net worth, if his wealth estimation was accurate, could be a far cry from the wealth reportedly enjoyed by other monarchs of the world.


Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s net worth is estimated at E972 billion as compared to E2 billion which Forbes Magazine claimed His Majesty has.
It has been established though that Forbes Magazine did not include His Majesty King Mswati III in the list of the 15 richest monarchs and royals of the world in 2013.
The last of the 15 richest monarchs in the world is worth E32.4 billion. This is Shah Karim al-Hussayni – the Alga Khan IV.  Her Majesty the Queen of Great Britain is followed by monarchs from Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi with E648 billion and E486 billion respectively. These are His Majesty King Abdullah Al-Aziz (E648 billion) of Saudi Arabia and His Majesty Sheik Khalifa Bin Zayed An-Nahyan of Abu Dhabi. 


If net wealth estimation for monarchs by the West is anything to go by, it can also be highlighted that His Majesty King Mswati III is not a billionaire in US dollars – the international currency usually used for estimation of global economic growth.
Meanwhile, Reuters, a British news service that syndicates news material to the world media, got a rare opportunity for a one-on-one no-holds barred interview with the king at Lozitha Palace last month.  Reuters asked the king several questions.


The Ingwenyama (Lion) seemed ready for the task as he answered all the sensitive questions the European journalists posed at him. 
In 2009, Forbes magazine estimated his personal wealth at US$200 million (about E2 billion).
In response to this estimation, the king told Reuters that he had no idea where the figures came from.


“I was very surprised and wondered where I got all this amount of money,” said His Majesty the King.
“You just live according to what you can afford and according to your taste within the budget that has been allocated. It’s not in anyone’s interest to overspend.”
It is said in the report that the King exuded confidence as he affirmed the support and loyalty of Swazis.
He said there was no autocracy in Swaziland.


His Majesty then described Monarchial Democracy as a relationship between the monarch and ballot box.  The king said the two worked together in harmony.
“It’s working well here. It’s providing peace and stability,” he said.
“Everything that we do in this country is by consensus, by allowing the people themselves to define how they want themselves to be governed.”
Commenting on reports that riot police used teargas to disperse an anti-government protest action in 2011, His Majesty said the state had never unleashed security forces to crush political opposition.


He said the country had not applied any kind of repressive measures.
In fact, Ingwenyama said there was no need to do so because “Swaziland is a very peaceful country, a peaceful nation.”
Reuters said the monarchial democracy he had presented to the Swazi nation was a name change for foreign consumption.
His Majesty is quoted as having said: “No change really. It’s just a name so people can understand.”


“The world really doesn’t understand the Tinkhundla system but everybody can understand monarchial democracy. It’s an English name. This monarchial democracy is a marriage between the traditional monarchy and the ballot box, all working together under the monarchy.”
Sihle Dlamini, the assistant Private Secretary to His Majesty, confirmed that His Majesty granted Reuters the interview.
Dlamini did not delve into the article published by the 52 newspapers except to say that it was a ‘lengthy interview’ the king had with Reuters. 

 

... he’s not a rich monarch – Mgabhi

MBABANE – Traditionalists also believe His Majesty the King is not rich.
Mgabhi Dlamini, a traditionalist and former Speaker, said His Majesty was not rich despite the fact that everything in the Swazi context belonged to the king.
Interestingly, he said, a Swazi king would also say everything he has belonged to the Swazi nation.


He said a Swazi king was neither rich nor poor. Mgabhi says if a King could be poor, he would become a beggar. “We cannot allow our king to be poor and beggar. At the same time he’s not rich,” said Dlamini.


“If they say he’s a billionaire, where do they say he got the money? It’s not true that he is a wealthy king.”
T.V. Mtetwa, the acting Governor of Ludzidzini Royal Residence, was very brief. “I am just clueless about the matter you are enquiring about. I don’t want to involve myself in it,” he said.


He said he was afraid of talking about it. “There is nothing wrong with His Majesty the King having his personal property,” Obed Dlamini, an advisor to the king and former Prime Minister has said.
Dlamini, currently rated by the nation as one of the best prime ministers this country has ever had, said Swazis were not afraid of anything.


He was referring to those afraid of explaining to the outside world how His Majesty the King got his personal property.“The King has parents and grandparents who knew he would be born and grow up to lead a great nation.  He has forefathers just like many of us, who owned property. He inherited the property just as you would do when your parent pass away. His parents had large herds of cattle. They invested for him just as he would invest for the next king. He also invests; saves his money and has many cattle,” he said.


He said he was a Swazi who knew how to fend for himself with the resources allocated to him.
“There are things that don’t belong to him but royalty at large (indlunkhulu) and there are things that belong to him in his personal capacity. There is nothing wrong with it,” said the former Prime Minister.


Prince Logcogco, Chairman of Liqoqo, an advisory council to the King, also denied that His Majesty was so wealthy that he could have E2 billion in his personal account.  He said the global media had a tendency to feed the world with lies about the King.
The prince said there were many rich people out there who were not criticised but the international media decided to put the Swazi monarch on the spot, for a fortune he did not even have.  


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