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Swaziland minister quits over alleged affair

Staff Reporter

Justice secretary Ndumiso Mamba faces expulsion from African state after claims he slept with 12th wife of King Mswati III.

A government minister in Swaziland has resigned amid rumours that he had an affair with one of the 14 wives of King Mswati III.

Ndumiso Mamba, the justice minister and childhood friend of Mswati, stepped down as the sex scandal rocked the tiny African kingdom.

A pro-democracy group, Swaziland Solidarity Network, alleged last week that Mamba had been having an affair with 23-year-old Inkhosikati LaDube, the 12th wife of the king.

It has been claimed that LaDube wore an elaborate disguise so she could enjoy clandestine meetings with Mamba. The queen is said to have dressed in military fatigues to leave the royal palace without arousing suspicion.

A palace source was quoted by the South African Press Association as saying: “For many months the inkhosikati [queen] would dress in an army uniform whenever the king was not around.

“She allegedly got into her room and changed into her uniform and walked straight to the gate and no one bothered to ask where was this soldier going. In no time a car was there to pick the ‘officer’ up and whisked her to Royal Villas [a luxury hotel] about 10km west of the Lozitha palace.”

But Mamba was apparently caught and arrested in a police sting at the hotel, owned by 42-year-old Mswati. He was reportedly detained in a police station then prison and faces possible expulsion from the country. The queen was put under house arrest.

The affair has caused huge embarrassment to Africa’s last absolute monarchy after failed attempts to prevent it leaking into the public domain.

Newspapers are tightly censored and the Times of Swaziland reported only: “Mamba resigned following certain allegations circulating in the country and internationally.” But the story has been seized on by the press in neighbouring South Africa.

Banarbas Sibusiso Dlamini, the Swazi prime minister, said: “There is a story that has gone far which is currently being circulated ... The story touches on the minister of justice and constitutional affairs, Ndumiso Mamba.

“Mamba had opted to resign as both senator and minister of justice ... to allow the matter to be considered by the appropriate authorities.” Dlamini did not give any details of the case or accept questions on the subject.

LaDube was 16 when she first caught the king’s eye at the annual Reed Dance pageant six years ago. She has borne him three children.

The British-educated Mswati—who was on a two-week official visit to Taiwan when the story broke—is frequently criticised by human rights groups as a dictator who runs the Aids-ravaged country of one million people as his own personal fiefdom.

Sandwiched between South Africa and Mozambique, Swaziland won independence from Britain in 1968 but has been without a constitution since 1973. Political parties are banned and the king appoints the government. - guardian.co.uk

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