A story, which was first published on Monday by the Zambian Observer and picked up by several other online publications, said that the government had ordered Swazi men to marry multiple wives starting from June. It said the king "has declared in... Swaziland that men will from June 2019 be required to marry at least two or more wives or be jailed if they fail to do so".
According to the story, the government would sponsor marriage ceremonies and offer houses to men who entered into polygamous marriages.
The government of eSwatini (formerly known as Swaziland) has issued a formal public statement angrily denying the viral online reports that King Mswati III, Africa's last absolute monarch who has 14 wives had ordered men to have at least two marriages or face jail.
Government spokesman Percy Simelane said that the story was "malicious" and "poisonous" and the government would consider legal action against the newspaper. He further demanded that the Zambian Observer take down the story that is defamatory in nature.
"His Majesty has not made any pronouncement to that effect as it has never been an issue raised," by the people, Simelane said.
He said the story was "not only an insult to the monarchy and the culture of eSwatini but a disgrace to journalism".
Header Image Credit: Joburg Times