Coke’s taxes support Swaziland tyrant | world | Hindustan Times
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Coke’s taxes support Swaziland tyrant

The multibillion dollar beverage company owns a concentrate-manufacturing plant in Swaziland, an impoverished kingdom ruled by Africa’s last absolute monarch, Mswati III.

world Updated: Jan 03, 2012 23:49 IST

Coca-Cola has been accused of propping up one of Africa’s most notorious dictators.

The multibillion dollar beverage company owns a concentrate-manufacturing plant in Swaziland, an impoverished kingdom ruled by Africa’s last absolute monarch, Mswati III.

The king has travelled to Coca-Cola’s headquarters in Atlanta in the US, much to the disgust of Swazi political activists who blame him for human rights abuses and looting the nation’s wealth.

Mary Pais Da Silva, co-ordinator of the Swaziland Democracy Campaign, called for Coca-Cola to pull out of the country immediately. “Coca-Cola must know they’re doing business with the wrong people,” she said. “Their profits don’t help the average Swazi, while the king is getting richer by the day.”

Coca-Cola says that Mswati III does not receive any profits or dividends from its Swaziland operation, its biggest in Africa. But some activists estimate that Coca-Cola contributes as much as 40% of the country’s GDP. The company admits it cannot account for how the money it pays in taxes is used by the Swazi government. - GNS