Protect our country against democracy groups: Swaziland's king Mswati urges subjects

Critics have no knowledge of Swazi culture, he says in address in parliament

SWAZILAND’s King Mswati III on Thursday urged his subjects to “protect the country” from pro-democracy groups which portrayed a negative image of the nation abroad.

Africa’s last absolute monarch told the opening of parliament that such activities had robbed Swaziland of good opportunities.

“It should deeply concern us when we hear people who have no knowledge of our culture portraying it in bad light on some foreign forums,” he said.

“It has deprived the nation of key benefits that could contribute handsomely to both our sustainable development and social welfare programmes,” he said.

The king urged citizens to remain loyal and patriotic and “protect this country from these destructive acts because Swaziland belongs to Swazis”.

The United States last year removed Swaziland from a lucrative trade pact for goods from some 40 sub-Saharan nations that meet political and economic standards.

The Swazi government is regularly accused of stifling dissent and jailing opponents.

Mswati, who has an annual household budget of around $60 million in a country where about 60 percent of the population live on less than $1 a day, also attacked corruption and greed.

“What we see today is a terrifying appetite or love of money which has bred greedy individuals amongst us. These people are prepared to go to great lengths to lie for their selfish financial benefit. Let us be satisfied and content with what God has given us,” he said.

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