In the wake of the violent demonstrations which erupted in parts of eSwatini just recently, it had been reported that King Mswati III had opted to flee the kingdom, out of fear of angry locals who consider him the object of their aggression.

It had been reported that Matsapha, a town in central eSwatini was the scene of chaos, particularly on Monday evening, when residents apparently set fire to shops believed to be owned by the king and damaging other infrastructure.

The residents claim to have had enough of the complete monarchical rule and are demanding government reform.

While there was still much uncertainty, particularly surrounding King Mswati’s whereabouts, the Communist Party of eSwatini “confirmed” that he had in fact fled the kingdom and was hiding out in Johannesburg.

“It was discovered that the special jet for King Mswati left around 10.30 pm last night but we have discovered that had left earlier. He’s been hiding in Johannesburg, in the Sandton area,” the party said to Eyewitness News (EWN) on Tuesday morning, 29 June 2021.

“But last night, the arm choppers threw tear gas and were supported by the ground forces who were shooting at the protesters and the people on the road, injuring several of them and some are suspected to have died on the spot. But confirmation is still under way,” the party’s Thokozane Kunene is quoted as saying.

Just several hours later, the eSwatini government denied the reports of the king’s departure and further called for calm among residents.

“Following the false media reports circulating, I would like to take this opportunity to assure emaSwati and the international community that His Majesty King Mswati III is in the country and continues to lead in working with the government to advance the kingdom’s goals. Government will update the nation on interventions on the current situation as the day progresses. In the meantime, we appeal for calm, restraint and peace from all emaSwati” Acting prime minister for eSwatini, Themba Masuku.

Lack of democracy in eSwatini, which was previously called Swaziland, has long been an issue plaguing the kingdom – King Mswati has absolute power, including in senior appointments like the prime minister, cabinet ministers and members of the judiciary.

In eSwatini, political parties are not allowed to take part in elections, as per legislation that was introduced in 2005.

While groups advocating for democracy have also been outlawed. King Mswati is known for lavish lifestyle, which is a stark contrast of the living conditions of his people, many of whom are poor. He was appointed King back in 1986, when he was just 18 years-old.



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