government of eSwatini on Tuesday angrily denied viral online reports that King
Mswati III, Africa’s last absolute monarch who has 14 wives, had ordered men to
have at least two marriages or face jail.

story, carried by the Zambian Observer and picked up by several other online
publications, said that Swazi men would have to marry several wives starting
from June.

well as 14 wives, King Mswati has more than 25 children and a reputation for
lavish spending while 63 percent of his 1.3 million subjects in the kingdom
formerly known as Swaziland live in poverty.

story, first published on Monday, said the government would sponsor marriage
ceremonies and offer houses to men who entered into polygamous marriages.

said the king “has declared in… Swaziland that men will from June 2019
be required to marry at least two or more wives or be jailed if they fail to do

spokesman Percy Simelane called the story “malicious” and

Majesty has not made any pronouncement to that effect as it has never been an
issue raised,” by the people, Simelane said.

said the story was “not only an insult to the monarchy and the culture of
eSwatini but a disgrace to journalism”.

The government has demanded that the newspaper retract its story.


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