Now, King Mswati III and his hangers-on have the perfect excuse on why they have failed to meet their deadline for the airport’s opening.
King Mswati, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, said Sikhuphe would open this month (March 2010). But it didn’t.
Then he said it would open in June 2010 in time for the FIFA World Cup in neighbouring South Africa.
He even toured the site of the airport last week to see for himself how far advanced work was.
And then the winds hit.
According to the Swazi Observer, the newspaper in effect owned by King Mswati, ‘critical buildings’, including the landing system ‘were blown off’ in the storm on Wednesday (17 March 2010).
According to the Observer, the loss of the landing system means aircraft cannot now land.
Other critical buildings that were affected, according to the Observer, include the terminal building, air tower system and the control tower.
What a stroke of luck. Or is it? A source tells me that the destruction at Sikhuphe wasn’t nearly as bad as reports suggest. The main damage, it seems, is to the airport police station.
We are also told that any repair to the damage won’t cost the Swazi people a cent, because insurance companies will cough up.
Knowing insurance companies, I’ll believe that when I see it. I won’t be a bit surprised if they refuse to pay up because the damage was caused by ‘an act of God.’
An act of God, destroying Sikhuphe International Airport, King Mswati’s pride and joy.
Makes you think, God doesn’t much like the king.