King of impoverished Swaziland buys custom Rolls Royce cars for his 15 wives
Swaziland recently made news and it was not for the country's poorly performing economy, the pitiable record on Global Hunger Index or its choking clamp on civil and political rights.
The news was all about what the country's king - Mswati III - chose to gift his 15 wives - at least 19 custom-made Rolls Royce luxury cars worth approximately $24.4 million. The cars were reportedly loaded on four trucks as they made way to Mswati's wives in a show of his unflinching affection and dedicated love towards all of them.
A number of African media outlets earlier in November, including Independent Online, reported about the extravagant display of affection. A journalist with Independent Online tweeted photos and a video of the trucks transporting the luxury vehicles went viral. He claimed that these trucks had loaded the cars from a property possibly owned by Mswati. He further counted there to be 20 Rolls Royce and a Cullinan as well even though a few other reports pegged the total number of cars at 19.
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And while the splurge on these exotic - and astronomically expensive - vehicles made almost everyone question Mswati's priorities, it was not the king's first tryst with binge shopping for expensive vehicles. Just weeks before shelling out big bucks on the fleet of Rolls Royce, Mswati had added 79 BMW's to his royal garage, according to local news outlets. These included X3 SUVs and 540 sedans.
The preferred mode of bringing all of these vehicles into the country, which was renamed eSwatini by Mswati in 2018, is through ports in South Africa's Durban.
And while Mswati is in the fast lane of compulsive car shopping, the contrast between him and his subjects is quite screeching. Landlocked Swaziland scored 22.5 out of 50 in the Global Hunger Index 2019 which ranked the situation as 'serious.' Its economy hardly fares better with a report by World Bank stating that '39.7% of the population estimated to have been living under the international $1.90 poverty line in 2016 and 2017.'
These, however, may only be minor details for a ruler in the fast lane of extravaganza.