The Eswatini Communist Party confirmed on Tuesday that King Mswati III had fled his country and said he was hiding in Johannesburg, South Africa. The king is believed to have fled amid pro-democracy protests sweeping the small kingdom. These demonstrations began a few days ago and have intensified to the point that some shops have been burnt down in Matsapha. This information was denied by the government.
For the past few days, demonstrations have been intensifying in the small kingdom of Eswatini. The protests are the result of a decree issued by the government last week banning petitions calling for democratic reform, according to local media. A member of the Communist Party, Thokozani Kunene, said the protest action would continue in the country until King Mswati stepped down and bowed to democracy. He also said the army and police have been deployed to target the protesters, adding that there were chaotic scenes.
Several people were injured and one person reportedly died. According to Thokozani Kunene, armed helicopters fired tear gas at the protesters and were supported by the police, who opened fire. « It was found that the special jet chartered for King Mswati left at about 10.30pm last night, but we have learnt that it left earlier. He is hiding in Johannesburg, in the Sandton area, » he revealed.
The Eswatini government has denied that King Mswati III, the last absolute monarch in black Africa, fled his country because of the pro-democracy protests that were turning violent. « King Mswati III is in the country and continues to work with the government to advance the goal of the kingdom, » acting Prime Minister Themba Masuku posted on Twitter.