Arrest threat for Swazi minister

2012-03-15 22:14

Mbabane - The speaker of Swaziland's parliament has threatened the finance minister with arrest after lawmakers were infuriated by a move to cut their salaries by 10% without their consent.

Gelane Zwane, president of the tiny African kingdom's senate, produced a copy of a warrant for Majozi Sithole's arrest during a debate on the pay cut during which the minister himself stormed out.

Zwane said all arrangements were in place to have the minister placed behind bars but said a formal request to implement the warrant had yet to be made to King Mswati III, Africa's last absolute monarch.

"I have even prepared that he will first be arrested and taken to the holding cells here and then be taken to the Lobamba Police Station," said the speaker in the session on Wednesday in which he accused Sithole of undermining the dignity of parliament.

"Eventually, he will end up at Matsapha Correctional Institute where his wife LaMavimbela will be easily able to visit him."

Zwane said the warrant remained active but added: "I still have not asked the king for this."

Sithole's exact whereabouts are not known after his walkout from the parliament with Acting Prime Minister Senator Themba Masuku saying he had ordered police to find him.

King Mswati's government has been facing liquidity problems in the past year which has seen growing opposition against the regime.

Swaziland, which is entirely surrounded by South Africa and Mozambique, is facing a crippling financial crisis that has left the government struggling to pay wages and keep public services running.

Read more on:    king mswati iii  |  swaziland  |  southern africa

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