King Mswati III of Swaziland booked more than 200 hotel rooms to accommodate his entourage at the Indo-African summit that concluded in Delhi on Thursday (29 October 2015), according to media reports from India.
Zee media reported he took his 15 wives, 30 children and 100 servants to a five-star hotel.
According to News World India, each room cost between 7,000 and 15,000 rupees (US$230) a night. If the account is correct the rooms alone would have cost up to US$46,000 a night.
Swaziland was one of 54 nations represented at the summit, designed to encourage trade between India and African countries.
Media in Swaziland which extensively cover the King’s official foreign travels have been silent about the cost of the trip.
King Mswati, who rules Swaziland as sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, has a stranglehold over the media in his kingdom where seven in ten of his subjects live in abject poverty earning less than US$2 per day. At that rate it would take most Swazi workers nearly four months to earn the cost of the King’s hotel room for one night.
King Mswati was listed among seven ‘dictators’ who attended the summit by India’s Catch News.
It said, ‘Mswati III came to power as a 14 year-old following his father’s passing, even though his mother ruled in his stead until he turned 18. Waiting for him to mature into a sensible leader was a good idea, unfortunately, it didn’t pan out that way.
‘As King of Swaziland, Mswati III is virtually all-powerful, with powers over both the executive and judiciary. But with great power comes great responsibility. Sadly no one ever told Mswati III that.
‘He practises polygamy and currently has 15 wives, which isn't the problem. No, the problem is that not all of his brides consented to marrying him. One, as young as 18, disappeared from her school and was later found being forced to marry Mswati III, an act that was condemned by Amnesty International.
‘Still, he builds his wives palaces and sends them to Europe on his private jet for lavish shopping sprees. Unfortunately this benevolence doesn't extend to Swaziland's general populace, with over 60% of the population living on under $2 a day.
‘He's also been accused of using force (even lethally) to silence dissenters, activists and journalists. With Swaziland's monarchical system deeply entrenched in the Swazi way of life, his reign isn't ending anytime soon.’