- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 7, 2002

MBABANE, Swaziland A woman who sued Swaziland's monarchy to prevent the king from marrying her daughter postponed her lawsuit indefinitely this week, saying she doubted she had any chance of winning.

Lindiwe Dlamini had asked the court to force the royal family to release her 18-year-old daughter, Zena Zoraya Mahlangu, from a royal guesthouse. Miss Mahlangu and two other women were picked by aides of King Mswati III in September after the king decided they would be his 10th, 11th and 12th wives.

The lawsuit did not name the king, who is above the law, but said several royal family members defied tradition and the law in taking Miss Mahlangu. The unprecedented case has pitted the tiny southern African nation's traditional and absolute royalty against the court system.

Last month, King Mswati sent his security chief, police commissioner, army commander and the attorney general to tell the three judges they must dismiss the lawsuit or resign, but they refused.

Chief Justice Stanley Sapire said on Tuesday that Attorney General Phesheya Dlamini had withdrawn the threat and tendered a formal apology for interfering with the court's independence.

Lucas Maziya, Lindiwe Dlamini's lawyer, said he had no doubt his client's daughter had been abducted, but the chances of her being released were slim. Miss Mahlangu told her mother in a weekend telephone conversation that she "accepted her present position as the king's fiancee," Mr. Maziya said.

However, two court officials were denied access to Miss Mahlangu to obtain her views about her impending marriage.

Chief Justice Sapire and two of his colleagues accepted the application to postpone the case.

Mr. Maziya said Lindiwe Dlamini reserved her right to reopen the lawsuit if she was not satisfied with her daughter's treatment.

King Mswati, Africa's last absolute monarch, can marry as often as he pleases. His father, King Sobuza II, had more than 100 wives. It is usually considered an honor to have one's child chosen as a royal bride.

[Lindiwe Dlamini, an executive in Swaziland's post and telecommunications company, has been reported to be an active feminist.]


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