By Sandra Birungi
Swaziland King, Mswati III has chosen an 18-year-old girl to be his 14th wife.
A palace spokesman confirmed the development today saying, “I can confirm that the king has introduced to the nation a new liphovela (royal fiancee),” said Ludzidzini palace governor, Timothy Mtetwa.
14-year-old Sindiswa Dlamini is a beauty pageant contestant and was introduced to the world at a Reed Dance celebration last weekend ahead of the country’s much-criticised parliamentary vote. Dlamini was wearing reed feathers on her head as a sign of royalty. She graduated from Mbabane’s St. Francis High School last year and is a finalist in the Miss Cultural Heritage beauty pageant although she has not yet won the competition.
The winner of the beauty pageant will be announced on September 28.
The 45-year-old king has come under fire for his household’s lavish lifestyle. It is believed that he has a personal fortune of around US$200 million (RM600 million) and the UN estimates that 70 per cent of his 1.2 million subjects live below the poverty line. He has been able to resist reforms over the years.
“It just happened that the international community was there to witness the event,” said Mtetwa. The wedding is scheduled to take place only when she gets pregnant at which time she will become Mswati’s 14th wife.
The king has so far left the household in the past years. The latest, Queen LaGija, fled the palace in 2012 claiming years of physical and emotional abuse. Another queen, LaDube, was reportedly abused after she was caught in bed with the justice minister, a close friend of the king.