Saturday, July 16, 2011

Swaziland's King Mswati III

Swaziland's King Mswati III

Swaziland's King Mswati III called for his male subjects to get circumcised as he endorsed a campaign aimed at tackling the world's highest HIV infection rate.

He has 13 wives and several children, Africa's last absolute monarch.

Mswati was entertained by bare-breasted teenage girls, troops of warrior regiments and a military brass band..... requiring young girls to wear tassels to display their virginity and banning men from having sex with girls under 18.

When the king broke his own ban by taking a 17-year-old wife, he fined himself a cow.

Officials hope to avert 90,000 new infections and save the health system millions of dollars over the next decade.

The US government is spending $30 million (21 million euros) on the campaign -- nearly $30 per inhabitant of the tiny kingdom.

Organisers are pinning their hopes on Mswati, known to his people as "the mouth that speaks no lies", to breathe life into the campaign.

The king still commands enormous respect, but in the rural areas near Mankayane dissatisfaction is bubbling to the surface as his subjects feel the pinch of a deepening economic crisis.

"The king has a lot of money in the bank but he can't help us. He has many women and a luxurious life. His children get an overseas education. He doesn't care about Swazis," local Boxer Vilakazi told AFP.

"I love the king but 90 percent of youth are not working. Only those close to the king get jobs," said 21-year-old Mthobisi Dlahla.

The polygamous monarch has been criticised for failing to lead by example in his kingdom, where multiple partnerships are seen as the major catalyst of the AIDS crisis.
Mswati did not say Friday whether he intended to get circumcised himself.

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