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Tuesday, 3 August 2010


The love rival imprisoned on the instruction of King Mswati III of Swaziland has been released.

Swaziland Justice Minister Ndumiso Mamba was discovered allegedly having sex with one of the king’s wives, Nothando Dube (Inkhosikati LaDube), and banished to jail.

The media and others in Swaziland were sworn to secrecy over the affair, but as soon as news leaked out, first in the South African press, and then globally, Mamba was released.

News is that a group of senior princes realised that adultery is not a crime (not even in Swaziland) and King Mswati had no right to imprison Mamba.

I assume the princes contacted King Mswati, who is on a trip to Taiwan, where yesterday he was given an honorary doctorate by Taipei Medical University for his ‘outstanding leadership’, and convinced him that now the international media were on his case he had no way of covering up his dictatorial action.

King Mswati is sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, so might have assumed that his word was (quite literally) law.

The question is what happens now? Even though Mamba has not broken a law of adultery, King Mswati will not let him get away with sleeping with one of his wives.

It is reported that charges of ‘trespassing on another man’s home’ may be brought against Mamba, even though the couple were found at a hotel, not at one of the king’s many palaces. In Swazi cultural law women are considered to be the property of their men (husbands, fathers) so maybe in this case Dube is considered the ‘home’.

Lucky Lukhele, spokesperson for the Swaziland Solidarity Network, told the international media that, if the charges were proved, Mamba would get the death sentence and Dube would be banished.

That might be going a bit far, even for King Mswati, but I understand Amnesty International has been informed of the situation in case Mamba or Dube’s human rights are violated in the aftermath of the scandal.

We won’t have long to wait for the next dramatic move - King Mswati is due home to Swaziland tomorrow (Wednesday 4 August 2010).

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