MANZINI, September 14, 2011 (AFP) – Swazi King Mswati III said Wednesday that the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank should come to his country’s rescue, as they have for troubled nations like Greece and Portugal. “When they come to visit us, they do not come in the same spirit and that is a cause for concern,” he said at the opening of a two-day “dialogue” that the palace is promoting as a step out of its crippling financial crisis.
Labour unions that organised five days of anti-government protests last week are boycotting the meeting, and police blocked a small protest by civic and religious groups at the start of Mswati’s “Smart Partnership Dialogue”.
They accuse Mswati, Africa’s last absolute monarch, of bankrupting the nation with his lavish lifestyle, including 13 wives who each have their own palace.
Mswati, who arrived at the meeting in a luxury car, admitted that his country’s economy was “not a good sight to see”.
The IMF has refused to grant loans to Swaziland until government takes steps to rein in spending.
While the IMF has called for trimming the public wage bill, it has also urged the government to reduce its travel budget and focus more on health and education.