Like a thief in the night, King Mswati flees the royal palace

King Mswati

Lungani Zungu

The last King of Africa, Makhosetive Mswati III of eSwatini has fled his palace as a wave of protests sweeps through the kingdom.

The protests began slowly on Friday but by Monday many citizens had joined in and went on a rampage, torching buildings and blocking roads.

Among the reforms they want is that King Mswati surrender his powers and appoint a prime minister.

The protesters claimed that only Dlaminis, Mswati’s relatives, were appointed as prime ministers. The king also appoints cabinet ministers and members of the judiciary.

The protesters also called for the unbanning of political parties that were imposed as long ago as 1973.

Kenneth Kunene, the general secretary of the Communist Party of Swaziland, said the protest would go on until their demands are met.

“Nothing will stop us now. We are tired of being led by a dictator who only cares about his family and his close friends only,” he said.

He pleaded with the South African government not to house King Mswati if he fled to the neighbouring country. 

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) in eSwatini urged the international community to intervene.

“Thousands and thousands of Swazi citizens are out in the streets protesting for a New Democratic Government that is for the people by the people,” the EFF said on social media. 

“We plead with the international community not to turn a blind eye.”

The king has many high-ranking friends in South Africa.

The king’s nephew King Misuzulu kaZwelithini is the disputed king of the Zulu nation.

No one has confirmed whether King Mswati had indeed fled his kingdom while reports indicate he may be hiding in Johannesburg.

The king has not been shy to flaunt his wealth while many citizens lived in poverty. 

King Mswati took over as king in 1986, at the age of 18 years, becoming the youngest in his family to lead the Swati nation. 

Image source: @TheSouthAfrican