Swaziland King Mswati 'left by another of his wives'


Swaziland, with a stagnant economy, rampant poverty and a soaring HIV rate, has caught the Jasmine contagion. King Mswati III, pictured here in 2008, is one of the world's richest royals. Despite the unrest, he isn't expected to go the way of Mubarak or Ben Ali.


Paballo Thekiso

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — The sixth wife of Swaziland's polygamous King Mswati III has left him, according to a report.

Angela "LaGija" Dlamini fled the royal palace, citing years of physical and emotional abuse by her husband, pro-democracy activist group the Swaziland Solidarity Network said in a statement on Sunday.

Dlamini is the third of the king's 13 wives to have left him in recent years, according to South African media reports.

His 12th wife, Inkhosikati LaDube, was kicked out of the royal palace in December following an altercation with a security guard, the Johannesburg-based Sunday Times said.

The Swaziland Solidarity Network said Dlamini had "left the Swazi royal harem for good" after being unhappy for years. A royal guard said she initially pretended to be visiting her parents' home in Hhohho, but has since disappeared.

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There is a continuing economic crisis in this landlocked southern African country, where two-thirds of the 1.4 million population survive on less than $1 a day.

While ordinary Swazis are suffering, Mswati, his wives and sprawling family have apparently remained unscathed by the government’s severe budget shortfall.

It was reported last month that Mswati had received a private jet worth millions of dollars from “anonymous sponsors."

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Government spokesman Percy Simelane told the BBC that the DC-9 twin-engine aircraft is for the use of the king and his wives, and denied allegations by Swaziland’s banned opposition party that taxpayer cash must have been used to buy it.

Mswati has ruled Swaziland as an absolute monarch since taking over from his father in 1986, and celebrated his 44th birthday in April with a party at which ordinary Swazis were asked to donate their own cattle for a mass feast.

Forbes magazine has listed Mswati among the world's 15 richest monarchs, with a personal fortune of $200 million.

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