Why is Coca-Cola Supporting Africa’s Last Royal Dictator?
Thursday, January 05, 2012
King Mswati III with Michelle and Barack Obama (photo-Lawrence Jackson, White House)
Coca-Cola is being urged to pull out of Swaziland, a small kingdom in southern Africa ruled by the notorious Mswati III, the continent’s last remaining absolute monarch. Swaziland produces all of the Coca-Cola concentrate for the rest of Africa, yet 80% of the people engage in subsistence farming and most Swazis live on about $1.00 per day.
The beverage company has reportedly hosted Mswati at its headquarters in the United States, prompting opponents of the king to call for the corporation to cease its business in their country.
Coca-Cola provides as much as 40% of Swaziland’s gross domestic product—and Mswati has been accused of enriching himself with the nation’s income.
The king is said to possess a stable of luxury cars, 13 palaces and 11 wives. Political parties are banned from organizing and extensive human rights abuses have been reported during Mswati’s reign. In February 2002, Mswati III flew to Hollywood to celebrate MTV’s “Rock the Vote!” campaign. The fact that his own citizens are not allowed to take part in free elections seemed to have no effect on his conscience.
-Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsky
Coca-Cola Accused of Propping Up Notorious Swaziland Dictator (by David Smith, The Guardian)
Dictator of the Month: King Mswati III of Swaziland (by David Wallechinsky, AllGov)
Parks Director Jarvis, Bowing to Coca-Cola, Halted Plastic Bottle Ban in Grand Canyon (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, AllGov)
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