IN THE kingdom of Swaziland, subjects must ensure they do not dishonour their monarch.
That rule goes for King Mswati III’s 13 wives as well.
And, despite shunning monogamy himself, he was in no mood to tolerate claims that his 12th spouse may have also enjoyed sharing her love with more than one partner.
He was unhappier yet when the man said to be having an affair with his beauty queen bride Mswati Nothando Dube was none other than his own Justice Minister and friend Ndumiso Mamba.
So, after engineering a sting operation and allegedly catching the two in bed, his 22-year-old wife has now been placed under house arrest while her Mamba is in jail, having been forced to resign.
Of course, the king’s 1.2 million subjects have not been made aware of this salacious story by the country’s press.
The Times of Swaziland helpfully told its readers “Mamba resigned following certain allegations circulating in the country and internationally.”
Journalists there have been told to focus on the honorary degree awarded to the monarch during his visit to Taiwan this week.
However, this has not stopped reporters from neighbouring South Africa exposing the scandal.
If convicted of the rather odd-sounding charge of ‘trespassing into another man’s home’, married Mamba, who was once a close friend of the king, could be executed.
While Dube, a mother of two who got engaged at 16 after taking part in the annual pageant of thousands of topless Swazi virgins, could be banished from the kingdom.
The two were arrested at the Royal Villas hotel in a town near Mbabane, the country capital. The hotel is said to be owned by the king.
As is the custom in the tribal state, the monarch’s mother, who shares his power and is known as the Indlovukazi, or Great She-Elephant, sent a delegation to Mamba’s village to press charges.
Political commentators said the alleged affair was “common knowledge”, although a friend of the queen has now told South African Times newspaper that she is "not happy", and wanted to "dismiss the allegations as false”.
Dube first caught the king's eye at the annual Reed Dance six years ago.
Inkhosikati LaDube, as she became known, bore him a daughter within a year and a son soon afterwards.