South Africa’s Zulu king, head of the country’s most influential traditional monarchy, has undergone “thorough” medical examinations following the sudden death of a close adviser, a spokesman said Sunday, amid suspicions he was poisoned.
The king, who was visiting neighbouring Eswatini, “underwent precautionary and thorough medical exams in a context of Covid and after the sudden death of his close adviser,” Douglas Xaba, explained Prince Africa Zulu, contacted by telephone by AFP.
Misuzulu Zulu, 48, ascended the throne last year after the death of his father, Goodwill Zwelithini, amid a bitter feud over the royal succession.
Overnight on Saturday, the influential Zulu prime minister, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, said in a press release that the monarch had been hospitalised in Eswatini after falling ill.
The king believes he was being poisoned, after the sudden and unexpected death of one of his close advisers on Saturday, he said.
Xaba “passed on quite suddenly and that there are suspicions that he was poisoned”, added Buthelezi.
The royal spokesman on Sunday assured that the Zulu king, also known as Misuzulu kaZwelithini, was “in perfect health and is not currently admitted to any hospital”.
The spokesman criticized what he said was an “orchestrated agenda” to circulate “baseless claims of His Majesty’s ill health”.
Several police sources in Eswatini confirmed to AFP that there was heavy security deployed at a private hospital close to the country’s royal residence.
Although the title of king of the Zulu nation does not bestow executive power, the monarchs wield great moral influence over more than 11 million Zulus, who make up nearly a fifth of South Africa’s population of 60 million people.
King Zwelithini, who died after more than 50 years in charge, left six wives and at least 28 children.
Misuzulu is the first son of Zwelithini’s third wife, who he designated as regent in his will.
The queen however died suddenly a month after Zwelithini, leaving a will naming Misuzulu as the next king — a development that did not go down well with other family members.
The current king preferred treatment in Eswatini because “his parents had both received treatment in South Africa and subsequently died”, said Buthelezi.
Last September, another counsellor of the Zulu king was shot dead in mysterious circumstances on the sidelines of a traditional ceremony.
©️ Agence France-Presse