27 November 2013

Swaziland: Divorce 'Ban' for Swazi MPs

Swazi parliamentarians have been instructed not to get divorced during the next five years as this would embarrass King Mswati III.

Gelane Zwane, the president of the Swazi Senate, also told them not to have sexual affairs with Parliament staff.

Zwane gave her instructions during a two-day workshop to orientate members of parliament and senators on their role. This follows the recent national election.

Zwane told the members of parliament and senators on Monday (25 November 2013) to forget about divorce now that they were in parliament as it was embarrassing not only to themselves but to the King as well, the Swazi Observer, a newspaper in effect owned by King Mswati reported.

Zwane directed most of her comments to women parliamentarians, the newspaper reported.

The Observer reported, 'Speaking during the orientation workshop of the parliamentarians yesterday, Zwane said if they had problems with their spouses, they should find alternative ways of avoiding embarrassing situations such as divorce.

'She said if anyone of them was already in the middle of a divorce process, they should just stall and wait until their term of office was over.'

She added it was bad to associate the King with people who are seen to be leaving their spouses once they get into leadership positions such as those in parliament.

She added, 'Such things are embarrassing to come from parliamentarians. Do it for the King at least for the next five years, then sort your personal issues after the end of your term.'

King Mswati himself has at least 14 wives (the exact number is a state secret). One had a very public affair with a serving cabinet minister before being expelled from the Royal Household. Another two of his wives reportedly fled the King and are now in exile.

Zwane also warned MPs not to have 'intimate relationships' with parliamentary staff.

The Observer reported her saying, 'You are going to find very beautiful ladies in parliament offices. Don't you dare get intimate with them, no matter how tempting.

'We would have to discipline these people because once they get intimate with honourables, they feel important and it becomes very difficult to work with them. We would have to discipline them, or even fire them, and this could cause problems for parliament.'

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