Many on social media were furious about reports that the legal age of marriage was being reduced to 14 so the king could be assured of virgin purity.
Africans have been having a fit on social media over the past few days after Twitter user @Panashe468 and other online news websites published a story about the parliament of eSwatini apparently passing a law last week that King Mswati III would be allowed to marry 14-year-old virgins.
The reports said the age had been reduced to 14 as young women did not keep their virginity any more, apparently making it difficult for the king to find a wife worthy of him.
A report falsely quoted Elder Muyoti saying: “It is clear that our King must marry a virgin. A King is not allowed to enter where other souls have entered according to our custom. It should be the King’s responsibility to break the virginity of a girl and no man should do it for him.”
These reports angered many, not just those from the country formerly called Swaziland, on social media, questioning how a country could pass a law that allowed young girls to be raped.
Speaking to Africa Check, eSwatini government spokesperson Percy Simelane said no such law had been passed in parliament, and no discussion about reducing the age had even taken place.
“Parliament was dissolved before elections around June 2018. We have just emerged from elections and parliament will be reopened in February 2019. That is when we can discuss or pass laws,” he was quoted as saying.
Spokesperson for the UN children’s agency Nadia Samie-Jacobs also told Africa Check the UN wasn’t aware of the new law.