I first got the news from a friend from Swaziland today. Although apparently it was a well known story on the Swazi “radio-trottoir”, only made it into the South African media last Sunday. This was an excerpt of the article published by the South African Sunday Independent:
Minister held for ‘bonking’ King’s wife
The minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs in Swaziland was allegedly arrested this week when the police set a trap and caught him having sex with one of King Mswati’s wives.
According to the Swaziland Solidarity Network (SSN), a coalition of unions and political parties fighting for democracy in the landlocked kingdom, Ndumiso Mamba was arrested at a house in Manzini while having sex with Inkosikati LaDube, one of the king’s 14 wives.
Lukhele said it was well-known in Swaziland that Mamba had been having an affair with LaDube but that it had never been proved.
“According to the source, Mamba was set up this time and unfortunately for him, he got busted. The king is on a state visit to Taiwan and we’re all wondering what is going to happen to Mamba when he comes back. We all think he’ll probably recommend the death sentence – Mamba has always been his right-hand man and this will definitely destroy their friendship.”
Following the news, Swazi Media Commentary, an independent blog devoted to publicise the news coming from this corner of the world, wrote today of the release of Mamba, and the subsequent attempt to charge him with “alleged expenses irregularities”:
Hardly had Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Ndumiso Mamba been released from the jail he had been banished to by King Mswati, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, than questions were asked about international trips he had taken that were not budgeted for.
I’ll leave it to you to judge the timing of the allegations.
All this has taken place while the King was on a state visit to Taiwan – Swaziland is one of the few African countries which still has not recognised China’s sovereignty – and according to the same blog, the King-controlled media has tried to cover the scandal. Nevertheless, the international visibility that the situation has gathered may have made Mswati refrain from taken revenge directly on Mamba – according the the Swazi Media blog. All of this could be read as: just another story from “Africa’s last absolute monarchy”, as the country’s often referred to (with the permision of Morocco). But given the current political climate, with a democracy march called for the beginning of September, and with increasing levels of repression against democracy activists and journalists, may make the situation escalate into something bigger. Although Swaziland is usually a calm place, my friend’s Facebook comment was that “the country is a house of cards”, and may be shaking. We’ll stay tuned to any news coming from there.