Sunday World (South Africa)

King Misuzulu sucked into Eswatini’s domestic turmoil

Amazulu king’s security detail ‘paid by Mswati III’

- By Sandile Motha sandile@sundayworl­

A few days after Amazulu king Misuzulu kazwelithi­ni jetted off to the Fifa World Cup in Qatar, the king finds himself dragged into political turmoil plaguing the landlocked country of Eswatini, his mother’s ancestral land.

A long-standing feud is raging in Eswatini, with pro-democracy forces fighting King Mswati lll’s autocratic regime and insisting the Amazulu king should be stripped of the benefits he enjoys in Eswatini.

It has since emerged the citizens of Eswatini are footing the bill for Misuzulu’s security detail.

The People’s United Democratic Movement (Pudemo) – a key political grouping advocating for the fall of king Mswati’s monarchy – accuse the king of plundering the country’s coffers and resources, while 60% of the population is living in abject poverty.

“Our problems have been compounded by the coronation of the Zulu King Misuzulu as the rightful heir to the throne.

“King Misuzulu is King Mswati’s nephew and the Eswatini king has developed a more direct interest in the affairs of the Zulu royal family,” said Spuku Phakathi, the Pudemo chairperso­n in Kwazulu-natal.

“We are aware that some of the security detail of the Zulu king is now sponsored by king Mswati, and this is worrisome because we know it is done using our taxpayers’ money while our people are poor.

“The Eswatini royal family business is used to milk and loot poor citizens of their hard-earned money through taxes and levies to fund the opulent lifestyle of the king and the royal family.”

Phakathi said their struggle should not be misconstru­ed as a war against the Amazulu nation and their king, saying the Amazulu king had merely been caught up in the firing line of their struggle against Mswati’s regime.

King Mswati III is Africa’s last absolute monarch, having been in power since 1986.

He is the brother of King Misuzulu’s late mother, Queen Mantfombi Dlamini-zulu, who was the late Amazulu king Zwelithini kabhekuzul­u’s third wife.

The Swaziland Solidarity Network, an organisati­on at the forefront of opposing the Eswatini governing system, known as tinkhundla, based on traditiona­l administra­tion headed by Mswati, also questioned the granting of state security to Misuzulu’s estranged wife, Queen Nozizwe Molela, in Eswatini.

“The people of Eswatini are concerned that even king Misuzulu’s second wife is being granted state security. This is at the expense of the people of Eswatini,” said organisati­on’s spokespers­on Lucky Lukhele.

The issue of King Misuzulu’s security while seeking refuge in Eswatini broke last year when he was named heir to the throne, succeeding his father, the late King Zwelithini.

This led to other factions of the Amazulu royal house challengin­g his legitimacy with the Kwazulu-natal provincial government deciding not to release benefits to him until the kingship question was resolved.

Mswati subsequent­ly came on board to supply his nephew with security amid safety concerns, but the Kwazulu-natal government then made a U-turn and footed the bill for the king’ and his consorts’ upkeep.

For the 2022/23 financial year, the Amazulu royal household has been allocated a budget of R67-million by the provincial KZN government.

Prince Thulani Zulu, King Misuzulu’s spokespers­on, said when the king was in Eswatini as a dignitary, he was afforded state security. “Like anyone who falls in the category of the king, state security is granted to them when visiting foreign countries.

“But as far as I know the king’s security is taken care of by the South African state. It would be against normal protocol if security forces from another country were assigned to the king in a foreign land,” he said.

This week, pro-democracy forces in Eswatini embarked on rolling mass action calling for regime change and the release of all political prisoners.

In response to a wave of sporadic protests and to clamp down on political activism, King Mswati introduced a 60day detention without trial proclamati­on.

The protests have left scores of people dead while other political activists have fled the country to seek refuge in neighbouri­ng countries.

This is worrisome because we know it is done using our taxpayers’ money while our people are poor

 ?? / SABC News ?? Amazulu King Misuzulu Kazwelithi­ni’s security detail is allegedly sponsored by Eswatini King Mswati III.
/ SABC News Amazulu King Misuzulu Kazwelithi­ni’s security detail is allegedly sponsored by Eswatini King Mswati III.

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