December 14, 2004

Call for sanctions against royal family

Pro-democracy organisations have called on the international community to apply smart sanctions against the royal family, following reports that King Mswati III has bought himself a car worth almost US $500.000. The car features a TV receiver, DVD player, 21-speaker surround sound system, refrigerator, telephone, heated steering wheel, interior pollen and dust filter, golf bag and silver champagne flutes. "We are calling for strategic sanctions against the royal family, such as no invitations to any major events, travel restrictions to be imposed on them by Europe and, particularly, South Africa," said Gabriel Mkhumane, spokesperson for the opposition People's United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO). He said it was unacceptable for the monarch of a country with 70 percent of the population living below the poverty line to spend so much on a vehicle. Mkhumane alleged that Swazis were disappointed when the king was invited to attend the South African government's inauguration earlier this year, as it seemed to be a signal of approval and endorsement. Elliot Mkhatshwa, president of the Swaziland Federation of Trade Unions, said his organisation supported the call for sanctions against the royal family: "Enough is enough - people are starving in this country!" (Rts)

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