The king just treated himself to a luxurious birthday present amidst prevailing poverty in his country.
The King of Swaziland (now known as The Kingdom of Eswatini since April) treated himself to a private jet for his 50th birthday, which coincides with the country's 50th year of independence, reports the City Press. The Airbus A340-300 was bought from Taiwan for E200 million (approximately $16 million).
Note that the country's currency lilangeni (emalangeni in plural form) is equivalent to the South African rand.
Refurbishing the plane cost E500 million, and a further E2 billion was spent on its hangar at the newly constructed airport in eastern Swaziland. This exorbitant price was to ensure the hangar was safe for royalty and heads of state visiting the country.
King Mswati blessed himself with a R200 000 000 jet. He refurbished it for R500 000 000 and built is hangar for R2 000 000 000 pic.twitter.com/Lg3PvRbTCQ
— Olwethu Sipuka (@osipuka) 27 May 2018
The plane was sent to Germany to be customized, and can now accommodate the king, some of his wives and his chef. It has the range to fly from Swaziland to New York without making any stops on the way.
This is not the first time the king has bought himself a private plane. In 2012, he bought a McDonnell Douglas DC-9, which now, since he has a new toy, will be used for short distance travels and will be rented out to charter companies.
Swaziland has an unstable economy, with a high unemployment rate (25.28%) and the highest HIV prevalence in the world at 27.2%. The country's pensioners also earn a meager E400 ($32) a month.
However, the royal family was allocated approximately R395 million for this financial year. It just doesn't add up.