Southern Africa: Swazi King Prepares Lavish SADC Summit As Population Starves

The next SADC summit takes place in Swaziland in August - at great cost to the Swazi taxpayer. The money would be better spent on providing desperately needed food for the country's long-suffering population. By MANQOBA NXUMALO.

Next month, Swaziland will host the 36th Southern African Development Commuinty (SADC) Heads of State summit, with King Mswati III set to take over as chairman of the regional body.

In Swazi media King Mswati's ascendance as chairman of SADC is hailed as historic mainly because ever since the regional bloc was established in 1992, Swaziland has never occupied the chairmanship role. King Mswati is currently deputising for the current chairman, Botswana's Ian Khama, and will officially replace him when the summit starts in Mbabane on August 17.

Mswati's new role as SADC chairman has already come in for sharp criticism from civil society organisations who bemoan what they call the "institutionalisation" of dictatorship in the region. In a seminar held last week in South Africa, the Swaziland Solidarity Network (SSN) in conjunction with the People's United Democratic Movement (Pudemo) condemned SADC for giving this important role to Mswati.

The SSN said the appointment of Mswati "had the potential to cast a shadow...

Source: Daily Maverick.