King Mswati III has reminded Swazi people that divorce is not an African culture, hence has no room in Swaziland.
Simply put the Southern African king says divorce is not welcome in the country.
“In our culture, once you marry someone, there is no turning back,”
It is on record that the King himself has been estranged from 3 out of his numerous wives. As a matter of tradition, the king takes a virgin bride on every occasion of the annual Reed Dance Festival.
During the Easter service over the weekend, the King and president told the people that divorce was never God’s plan for marriage.
King Mswati said this in the presence of Swazi pastors on Saturday at Engabezweni Royal Residence.
He reminded the people that marriage was a covenant with God which must be honored to the last.
A report from Swaziland says that the leader narrowed down his point to Swazi culture. He maintained that divorce is alien to the country. He also said there was no word for it in their dialect.
Soon the Marriage Act of 1964 may be replaced with a recently drafted Marriage bill. The new 2017 bill enumerates 5 occasions that may warrant a divorce.
Many fear that the newly drafted bill will ironically favor the women.
Swazi culture pertaining to marriage has been found to be grossly unfair to their women. Several investigations have shown that Swazi women are oppressed most of the times.
Swazi women take up the highest number of sexual and domestic violence.
In 2015, the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey Comparative Report revealed that wife beating was common in Swaziland.
“If she refused to have sex with him, if she argued with him, if she went out without telling him, if she neglected the children and if she had sex with other men’.”
Based on the survey, Silindelo Nkosi, as reported by APA, faulted the reasons; calling them excuses to abuse women.
“These beliefs of justifying abuse have increased to the worst rate resulting in more young women dying in the hands of their lovers or husbands.”
Silindelo Nkosi is the Communication and Advocacy Officer for Swaziland Action Group Against Abuse (SWAGAA).
Till the King’s anti-divorce proclamation gets a legal backing, it has not exactly become official that divorce is no longer tolerated in Swaziland.
However, the Civil rights organisation Swaziland Solidarity Network thinks the statement has the potential to become law.
According to Lucky Lukhele from the Network,
“It is not necessarily a decree. However, given the vast powers that the king has it may sound as it is.
The King’s position in the Judiciary commission could influence the proposition.
King Mswati, is sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch and an unapologetic polygamist. It will be interesting to see how the proposed law will play out in his household.