King Mswati of Swaziland has refuted as untrue, reports in the media saying he ordered men in his kingdom to marry more women or face jail sentences, describing the rumour as malicious and poisonous.
The media was awash with news of the King’s command to men in his kingdom.
But in a press statement, signed by palace spokesman, Percy Simelane the King conveyed his displeasure on the news making the rounds in some international media.
He said: “In the wake of several poisonous reports published in some foreign newspapers, social media platforms and other forums purported to be an official statement by His Majesty, King Mswati III, Government wishes to state the following:
“The current dispatch titled ‘Marry more wives or face jail,’ quoting the King is not only an insult to the monarchy but a disgrace to journalism.
“His Majesty has not made any pronouncement to that effect as it has never been an issue raised by Emaswati.
“We will continue to appeal for morality, responsible behaviour and professionalism among journalists and the general public with access to the social media.
“It would be unfortunate if journalism and the social media are turned into character assassination platforms and springboards to ridicule individuals and leaders.”
Similarly, Eritrea made headlines last year in major international news platform with news of the President Isaias Afwerki asking men in the country to marry more than one wife of risk being jailed for life.
But Eritrea’s Information Minister Yemane Gebremeskel in a tweet said that “the media frenzy to parrot this ludicrous, fabricated and trite story… is appalling”.
Mr Yemane said “the story illustrates [the] vileness of the dark forces of disinformation and proclivity of others to readily embrace the negative narrative on Eritrea”.