The Eswatini Government has refuted claims by some media outlets that King Mswati III had fled the country amid violent protests that had shaken the Southern African country.
In a statement yesterday, acting Eswatini Prime Minister Themba Masuku, confirmed that the King was still in that country, pouring cold water on insinuations that he had fled.
“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 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,” said Masuku.
Eswatini Kingdom had been gripped by violent protests since June 20 this year. The protests, purportedly meant to force King Mswati III’s Government to open democratic space, have spiraled out of control and the situation on the ground has become volatile with reports of supermarkets and industrial plants having been set ablaze and the army deployed to restore order.
The Eswatini Government has laid the blame for the disturbances on the opposition groups who are being accused of using violent protests to dethrone the Government. The protests, purportedly being sparked and led by the opposition People’s United Democratic Movement (Pudemo) have since been described by acting Prime Minister Masuku as having been “hijacked by elements seeking to influence regime change” in that country.
In an earlier statement, Masuku called upon the protesters to calm down and give Government a chance to resolve their grievances amicably.
“Government has been following these protests and we want to assure the nation that these concerns have reached our ears and we are addressing them. We will be working with parliament and all stakeholders to action them accordingly,” said Masuku.
The Eswatini kingdom is one of the world’s remaining absolute monarchies ruled by King Mswati III who was crowned in 1986 at the age of 18. Political parties in the country are banned from participating in elections and it is the prerogative of the King to appoint the Prime Minister, Ministers, Judges and members of various councils.