/ 25 August 2022

eSwatini’s King Mswati accused of assaulting yet another wife

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Royal insiders said the queen was receiving medical treatment in South Africa for a different illness, not for her teeth. (Photo by Samir Hussein/WireImage)

Eswatini king, Mswati III, allegedly assaulted Inkhosikati Sibonelo Mngomezulu — known as LaMbikiza — for questioning him about the real father of Princess Sikhanyiso’s son, Prince Phikolezwe.

This is not the first time allegations have emerged of abuse by the king.  

The late Inkhosikati Nothando Dube (LaDube) allegedly sent photographs to political activist Lucky Lukhele and journalists reporting the physical abuse she suffered at the hands of her husband.

It has been reported that LaDube was allegedly isolated and heavily assaulted by the king and his bodyguards after being found in bed with Ndumiso Mamba, the then minister of justice and constitutional affairs.

The king’s spokesperson, Percy Simelane, said he was only responsible for the public image of the king, not private matters. He added that any effort to inquire about the matter would be an invasion of the king’s privacy.

“We are not aware, it is the public face of the king that is our area of interest and concern. We therefore wouldn’t be able to know what happens behind closed doors and any effort by us to inquire along those lines would be an invasion of privacy,” he said.

Questions were sent to LaMbikiza but she had not responded at the time of publication. 

Lukhele, the spokesperson of the Swaziland Solidarity Network, confirmed that LaDube had sent him photographs as evidence of assault. He added that he was also aware of the assault against LaMbikiza.

Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall greet King Mswati III of Swaziland and wife Inkhosikati LaMbikiza of Swaziland. (Photo by Sean Dempsey – WPA Pool/Getty Images)

“I am aware that LaMbikiza was assaulted by Mswati and she lost her teeth in the process. Other queens are suffering at the hands of the king, he doesn’t want them to socialise with men that he sees as competitors, he has a low self-esteem. LaDube even reached out to me reporting that Mswati assaulted her, she even shared some pictures,” said Lukhele. 

LaMbikiza is alleged to have told some of her close friends about the incident while she was in hospital in about February last year. It is alleged that the queen was receiving dental implants. 

A royal household insider, who is close to LaMbikiza, said: “It’s true, she told me kutsi loMjita [Mswati] umshaye wamkhokha ematinyo. Wangitjela asayowafaka lamatinyo waphindze wangitjela noma asabuyela ayowalungisa [She told me that he assaulted her and she lost her teeth, she even told me when she was going to hospital for the artificial teeth]. So if you want to verify this, check her passport around February 2021 and then follow that evidence. She was assaulted a few months or weeks after the birth of Phikolezwe.” 

An independent investigation by Swaziland News found that LaMbikiza left the country on or around 15 August this year. Her diplomatic passport suggests that she flew to South Africa at about 10:54am.

But royal insiders said the queen was receiving medical treatment in South Africa for a different illness, not for her teeth.

“She is sick and has gone for an operation. It’s true that these days there’s a serious conflict between the king and the queen … The queen [has in the past]  tried to advise the king that he must listen to the people, instead the king accused her of being a sellout and [said] that she was plotting to kill him.” 

A former member of the king’s advisory council also confirmed that the queen reported the assault to him.

“She even showed me a picture after the assault and was forced not to appear in public until she receives medical treatment,” said the person. 

Mswati rules eSwatini as an absolute monarch, with executive, judicial and legislative powers.  As a result, he cannot be taken to court to be held accountable for allegations of gender-based violence. 

Human rights lawyer Nosimilo Vilakati said domestic violence remained a gross violation of human rights, irrespective of who the perpetrator was.

“National and international law instruments serve the purpose of protecting every individual against any form of abuse. Analysis of domestic violence as an abuse of human rights is addressed in national courts. 

“However, when domestic courts fail to do this, international litigation provides positive mechanisms.The right to be free from domestic violence is not directly stated in international human rights treaties because domestic violence often results in battery, rape, murder,” said Vilakati.

A version of this article was originally published in Swaziland News.