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Swaziland’s Mswati is king of the regal pile

Published: 2009/12/03 06:42:48 AM

NOT only is he described as Africa’s only remaining absolute monarch, Swaziland’s King Mswati is considered the most influential monarch in Africa.

“Monarchy remains our undeniable roots and antecedent even in today’s most sophisticated countries,” declares a report by International Corporate Research, titled: Powers That Be — Africa’s Most Influential Monarchs.

Although democratic governments enjoy the most popularity in the 21st century, Mswati remains the only monarch in Africa who effectively governs. He represents his country in the African Union and the Southern African Development Community, and is recognised by bodies such as the United Nations.

Swaziland is one of the few states in the world that retain aspects of an absolute monarchy. Others include Brunei, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the Vatican City.

A monarchy also retains considerable power in Jordan and Morocco, while the most recent nation to abolish its monarchy is Nepal, which became a republic last year.

In determining the most influential monarchs in Africa, the report has considered the type of monarchy; the size of domain; whether the monarch has direct or indirect influence; and whether the monarch has international recognition.

The report says that, while most monarchies have been abolished since the 1800s, the nations that retain them often turned these institutions into constitutional monarchies.

Most no longer hold absolute power or claim custody of regions that are sometimes very extensive. Many of the surviving monarchs no longer have the enormous wealth their ancestors amassed from collecting tributes from their subjects and owning large expanses of land and slaves. They have also lost the right to rule by decree, promulgate laws and impose punishment.

The influence of some of these monarchs is still large, though.

“The respect for these traditional institutions has made some of these monarchs retain considerable influence even though they are just figureheads,” the report says.

Researchers acknowledge, however, that the influence of these modern monarchs is less significant compared with the monarchical historic roles played by the Pharaohs of Egypt, the Emperors of Ethiopia, the Mai of Kanem-borno, the Jaja of Opobo and many ancient kingdoms and empires that preceded western colonis ation.

Among the reasons for Mswati’s selection by the researchers is that he has reigned since 1986, when he became king aged 18 . He was the youngest reigning monarch until the ascension of King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck of Bhutan in 2006, and he was also the youngest head of state until Joseph Kabila became president of the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2001.

Today Mswati is described as Africa’s last absolute monarch in the sense that he has the power to choose the prime minister, other top government posts and top traditional posts.

He is ranked 17th on the list of richest heads of government, with a net worth of 100m.

Mswati is ranked 18th on this year’s Parade Magazine’s World’s Worst Dictator list. He has 14 wives and 23 children.

According to the International Corporate Research report, King Mohammed of Morocco has taken second position on the monarchs’ list as a “well-respected international leader” who leads the Maghrebian nation almost as an absolute monarch.

Under the constitution, the king can dissolve parliament and appoint the prime minister.

The king has a monopoly over the country’s natural resources, which earned him the number nine position on the list of richest head of government with a net worth of 2,5bn.

King Letsie of Lesotho has been placed third for overseeing the affairs of the nation as a constitutional monarch. Most of his duties are ceremonial and he has reigned for 18 years — making him the world’s 24th- longest reigning monarch.

Sultan Sa’adu Abubakar of Sokoto, leader of Nigeria’s 70- million Muslims, is in fourth place, followed by Africa’ s longest-reigning monarch and an influential Muslim leader in Nigeria, Dr Ado Bayero, the Emir of Kano.

King Goodwill Zwelithini Ka- Zulu in KwaZulu-Natal and Ashanti King Osei Tutu are in sixth and seventh place respectively, while the traditional ruler of Nigeria’s Lagos Island follows in eighth place.

The bottom two positions are held by Kabaka Mutebi of Buganda, Uganda; and Oba Samuel Odugade, the Olubadan of Ibadan Oyo state in Nigeria.

radebeh@bdfm.co.za

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By: Astell Collins On: Dec 3 2009 1:10PM
"Africa-the sacred land" Earth beyond the eyes capacity A glimpse of God’s majesty The nights are revered as the pharaohs And the days are as blessed as their heroes Here in the continent of Africa I dwell in the home of my ancestors My eyes have beheld the beauty in its diversity Of languages, beasts, and cultural identity Never knew this existed For they only televised the impoverished Like a lily in the valley of humanity She stands out with unparallel beauty Written by Astell Collins
By: Astell Collins On: Dec 3 2009 1:38PM
"Africa-the sacred land" Earth beyond the eyes capacity A glimpse of God’s majesty The nights are revered as the pharaohs And the days are as blessed as their heroes Here in the continent of Africa I dwell in the home of my ancestors My eyes have beheld the beauty in its diversity Of languages, beasts, and cultural identity Never knew this existed For they only televised the impoverished Like a lily in the valley of humanity She stands out with unparallel beauty Written by Astell Collins www.astelleypenempire.com 076 143 0042
By: hilly1963 On: Dec 3 2009 7:32PM
King? Isn't that a european title? Is he in europe? Can't we call him a tribal chieftain? Wouldn't that be more appropriate for someone that holds on to a primitive tradition of slaughter and bigamy?
By: hilly1963 On: Dec 3 2009 7:33PM
haha
By: brooksinjhb On: Dec 3 2009 9:33AM
dear hopewell: what about the king of thailand? not an absolute monarch but a man (and a dynasty) much appreciated and respected among thais and even more widely. /s/brooks spector
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