Men with Less than Five Wives in eSwatini Will face life Jail as from June 2019

Reed Dance
Reed Dance

eSwatini, former Swaziland is one of the countries of the world where the population of women is more than men. The king of eSwatini is one of the few African’s remaining national monarch. He is being referred to as Africa’s last Absolute Monarch.  It is reported by King Mswati III that the population of unmarried women is unbearable.

King Mswati III has 15 wives and 25 children. The Predecessor, his father King Sobhuza II has more than seventy wives and about 150 children.

eSwatini is a small country with a population of about  1,364,512. The population of the female is about 693,068 while the men are about 671,444. Therefore the percentage of female to male population is 50.8% to 49.2%. The population figure is according to Countrymeter 2019.

However, King Mswati III feels the population of unmarried women is much.  He said the country is facing a serious problem due to that. The measure he adopts to reduce the population of unmarried women is for every man to have at least five wives on or before June 2019.

The strict measure that follows the declaration and deadline is a jail sentence for anyone that fails to comply.

In a statement, King Mswati III called for all men in the country to marry at least five wives.  The government assured the men that it would pay for the marriage ceremonies and buy houses for them.

The king warned that any man or woman who opposes the decision “will face a life sentence”.

There is a duality of the legal system in eSwatini. The unwritten customary law of Swazi and the common law based on Dutch-Law exist in eSwatini. Both are administered in Swazi court. The practices of these laws place women’s right in a bad position.

The traditional marriage is governed by uncodified law and custom. The interpretation of the laws put confusion in women’s right.

The civil law in eSwatini permits a man to marry only one wife, but in practice, the law is ignored most of the times.

The country is known to be full of virgins. The reed dance is a significant culture observed by every virgin in eSwatini. They all dance half naked before the king. The king normally chooses a wife during the reed dance.



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