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Manzini - Swaziland’s absolute monarch, King Mswati III, said he was visited by God at the weekend and this resulted in unseasonal electrical storms in the country - and a new name for the country’s controversial political system.
“The lightning was flashing even though it was (a time of year) when there is usually no clouds or rain,” Mswati said when he opened a trade fair in Manzini on Saturday.
He said the storm was sent by God to accompany his vision.
The South African Weather Service interpreted it differently, reporting that a cold front from South Africa to the north colliding with warm air from the Mozambique Channel had created thunderstorm conditions in Swaziland.
“As I was wondering at this (weather), I saw the new name of the Swazi government,” Mswati told a rapturous audience.
Swaziland is now officially to be known as a monarchal democracy, the king decreed. Mswati said the new name reflected the people’s participation in the country’s governance through use of the ballot box.
Swaziland’s parliamentary election will be held next week. However, political parties are banned, and widespread bribery and vote-rigging were reported in last week’s primary election. Parliament has no governing power and may be dissolved at any time by Mswati, who may also ignore its resolutions.
Financial rewards enjoyed by MPs have made for cut-throat campaigning in a country where 70 percent of the population lives in chronic poverty.
Independent Foreign Service