Friday, November 27, 2015
NEWSPAPER CALLS SWAZI KING ‘DESPOT’
King Mswati III of Swaziland has been listed by a top UK media house as one of the ‘despots’ and ‘rogues’ gallery of dubious characters’ who will meet Queen Elizabeth II at the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Malta that started Friday (27 November 2015).
The Daily Telegraph, one of the most conservative and traditionalist newspapers in the UK, reported that the Swazi Prime Minister Barnabas Dlamini was expected to attend the meeting, but that the King might also arrive.
The newspaper reported, ‘Swaziland will be represented by its Prime Minister, Barnabas Dlamini, though the organisers have said the country’s controversial king, Mswati III, may also decide to attend.
‘King Mswati has 15 wives, each of whom, by tradition, had to become pregnant by him before he would marry them. Amnesty International has accused him of violating the human rights of women and girls by subjecting them to forced marriage, and his lavish lifestyle in a country where most people live on less than £1 per day has also attracted regular criticism.
‘He is reported to spend £37m (US$56m) per year keeping his 15 wives and at least 24 children in 13 separate palaces. Political parties are banned in Swaziland and Mswati remains an absolute monarch.’
King Mswati never gets a ‘good press’ outside of Swaziland, where media regularly report on the abuses of human rights that take place in Swaziland. Political parties are banned from taking part in elections, the King chooses the Government (Barnabas Dlamini, the present PM, was not even elected to the Swazi parliament) and opposition groups are banned under the Suppression of Terrorism Act.