King Sends Wives on Spree While Africans Starve
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Aug 21, 2009 2:12 AM CDT
Swaziland's King Mswati III and a wife arrive in the resort town of Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe earlier this summer.   (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
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(Newser) – Swaziland King Mswati III sent several of his 13 wives on a multi-million-dollar shopping spree in the Mideast and Europe while two-thirds of his subjects continue to suffer in abject poverty, reports the Times of London. The move has triggered sharp criticism in Britain, which provides the impoverished nation with some $93 million in aid each year. The US contributes $200 million annually.

The king received some $17 million in funds from the Swaziland government last year, more than the total spent on education in the nation, which has the highest rate of HIV infection in the world. The shopping spree cost some $6 million in state funds. It's a crime in Swaziland to criticize the king, Africa's last absolute monarch.