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Last Updated: Monday, 12 January, 2004, 12:23 GMT
King seeks 11 palaces for wives
King Mswati III
Mswati chooses a new wife every year
The king of drought-hit Swaziland has asked the government to build a palace for each of his 11 wives.

The Times of Swaziland reports that King Mswati III asked for $15m - almost as much as the 2002 health budget.

After years of failed rains, a quarter of the 1.1m population need food aid. Swaziland also has one of the world's highest rates of HIV infection - 33%.

Two years ago, the normally docile parliament rejected his request to buy a $45m royal jet.

King Mswati reportedly wanted the money to redecorate his three existing palaces and build eight new ones.

He chooses a new wife each year at the annual reed dance.

In 2002 the mother of his latest bride took some of his aides to court, accusing them of abducting her daughter.

He is Africa's last absolute monarch and political parties are banned.


SEE ALSO:
Swazi ritual killing warning
02 Jun 03  |  Africa
Profile: Troubled King Mswati
04 Dec 01  |  Africa
Country profile: Swaziland
10 Jan 01  |  Country profiles


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