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eSwatini government denies King Mswati III has fled to SA amid pro-democracy protests


Acting eSwatini Prime Minister Themba N Masuku has appealed for calm amid reports that King Mswati III, Africa’s last absolute monarch, has fled the kingdom of eSwatini because of ongoing pro-democracy protests.

King Mswati III is well-known for being intolerant to opposing political opinions. File picture: Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters

THE GOVERNMENT of the Kingdom of eSwatini has denied as false the media reports circulating that King Mswati III has fled the country as pro-democracy protests turned chaotic on Monday night.

According to media reports citing the Communist Party of Swaziland, King Mswati was hiding in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Acting Prime Minister Themba N Masuku said in a statement: “ I would like to take this opportunity to assure emaSwati and the international community that His Majesty King Mswati is in the country and continues to lead in working with Government to advance the Kingdom’s goals.

“Government will update the nation on interventions on the current situation as the day progresses.”

Masuku appealed for calm, restraint and peace.

Mswati’s special jet reportedly left eSwatini on Monday night, but the king was reported to have left earlier and was believed to be in Sandton, north of Johannesburg.

Businesses reportedly owned by the king were torched in Matsapha.

According to a report by news website Swaziland News, quoting a leader of the ongoing pro-democracy protest, government buildings and the king’s properties were to be burnt down starting on Tuesday.

This was after Masuku issued an order suspending delivery of memorandums to Tinkhundla with immediate effect last week.

“It has become apparent that this exercise has created a breeding ground for anarchy and has been intentionally hijacked to sow seeds of division,” Masuku said in a statement.

“This is in complete disregard of public safety, the rule of law and Covid-19 regulations. We are alive to public concerns of lack of adequate jobs and service delivery anxieties, among others, which are by and large a global concern…However, what we are seeing of late are elements who have hijacked these concerns to further their own agenda, mainly to shake the foundations that define this country with an intention to achieve regime change.”

He said the government remained receptive to all concerns raised by the public through the appropriate forums and in full compliance with the law.

“Our Constitution guarantees freedom of expression and fully embraces orderly consultation and engagement.”

Social media platforms were flooded with images of burning shops on Monday night.

King Mswati’s children were seen in one video, mocking people demanding democracy in eSwatini.

African News Agency (ANA)

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