He's the leader of one of the poorest nations on Earth. But while the population suffers, he spends millions on luxury cars for his wives.

A staggering 63 per cent of the Kingdom of Swaziland's population still lives below the poverty line.

But while the average person struggles to make ends meet, the African nation's leader, King Mswati III, has never been shy about splashing his cash.

The monarch – who is reportedly worth more than $212 million – has long been under fire for his lavish lifestyle, owning a fleet of luxury cars, private jets and even his own airport.


In 2014, he sensationally increased his household budget to $64 million – while the majority of his people live off less than $1 per day, according to The Guardian.

King Mswati III with one of his wives. Photo / AP
King Mswati III with one of his wives. Photo / AP

And now, he's been accused of showing citizens "a middle finger" once again after racking up a $26,022,934 bill on up-market cars for his 15 wives.

According to The Times and several social media posts from outraged citizens, King Mswati III recently splurged on up to 19 Rolls-Royces and dozens of BMWs, which were pictured being delivered from South Africa to the king's opulent palace.

The king – who renamed the county the Kingdom of eSwatini last year – ordered the cars for the exclusive use of his many wives and immediate family.

According to South African news publication TimesLive, the monarch was accused of "spoiling" his spouses shortly after the nation's public servants staged protests to demand wage increases.

The outlet claimed up to 700 government staffers had stormed the streets of capital city Mbabane recently to push for better pay and to call out the ruler, whose personal wealth and spending habits were put under the spotlight.

The purchase of the fleet of opulent cars coinciding with the protests over wealth and spending was seen as a slap in the face by many.

King Mswati III of Swaziland and Inkhosikati LaMbikiza of Swaziland in the UK in 2012. Photo / Getty Images
King Mswati III of Swaziland and Inkhosikati LaMbikiza of Swaziland in the UK in 2012. Photo / Getty Images

"In Swaziland, public sector workers have not received salary adjustments in three years, and the health system has totally collapsed, rendering the poorest of the poor vulnerable," People's United Democratic Movement general secretary Wandile Dludlu said in a statement, according to TimesLive.


"Tertiary institutions have also closed down due to student unrest caused by the regime's failure to cater for their tuition fees, text book fees, accommodation and other expenses."

Mr Dludlu said while the public suffered, the king continued to shower his family with gifts, claiming the new cars were intended to be used by the royal family only.

"Last week, a total of 19 Rolls-Royce cars were delivered to Swaziland for the exclusive use of the king, his mother and his wives," TimesLive reported him as saying.

"According to reports, some of these cars are for his motorcade and the exclusive use of his children. To say this is a blatant display of arrogance and total disregard of the poor people of Swaziland's feelings by the monarch would be an understatement.

"He is basically showing them a middle finger and proving to all and sundry that he is a law unto himself."

Ordinary citizens have also condemned the purchase on social media.

"While the people of Swaziland continue starving, their king spoils his (wives) … by purchasing 19 Rolls Royces all worth $24 million. King Mswati doesn't care much," Twitter user Khali Wheezy posted recently alongside photos of the king's delivery.

Journalist Mzilikazi wa Afrika, from Mpumalanga in South Africa, which borders eSwatini, also shared footage of the king's cars on Twitter, describing the situation as "heartbreaking".

"Amidst all the economic challenges eSwazitini, King Mswati III yesterday decided to bless his wives with very expensive wheels," he posted late last month.

"King Mswati III has been criticised for having an extravagant lifestyle while the rest of the country suffers," he said in another tweet.

"Unconfirmed reports suggest that it was 4 trucks loaded with 20 Rolls Royce and one Rolls Royce Cullinan."


The 51-year-old was crowned on in April 1986 when he was just 18, becoming the youngest ruling monarch in the world at the time.

He is well known for his polygamy and has at least 15 wives and 23 children.

While details of his spouses vary, as of 2019 they are believed to be Inkhosikati LaMatsebula, Inkhosikati LaMotsa, Inkhosikati LaMbikiza, Inkhosikati LaNgangaza, Inkhosikati LaHwala, Inkhosikati LaMagwaza, Inkhosikati LaMasango, Inkhosikati LaGija, Inkhosikati LaMagongo, Inkhosikati LaMahlangu, Inkhosikati LaNtentesa, Inkhosikati LaDube, Inkhosikati LaNkambule, Sindiswa Dlamini and Colile Nosiphe Magagula.

King Mswati III and spouse Inkhosikati La Mbikiza at the White House in 2005. Photo / Getty Images
King Mswati III and spouse Inkhosikati La Mbikiza at the White House in 2005. Photo / Getty Images

In 2013, the king made headlines after Tintswalo Ngobeni, then 22, officially sought asylum in England after fleeing her homeland as a teenager after turning down his offer of marriage.

Miss Ngobeni was just 15 when the king made his advances after seeing her at the palace of his fourth wife, LaNgangaza.

She said she was "terrified" when she learned of his marriage intentions.

And in 2002, Amnesty International accused the ruler of "violating the human rights" of Zena Mahlangu after the 18-year-old disappeared from her school and was allegedly forced into marriage.

Her disappearance was reported to police by her mother and the matter ended up before the courts, but the pair formally married in 2010.