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King Mswati has not fled the country, says Eswatini Prime Minister

Eswatini’s King Mswati reportedly fled the country amid violent protests (PHOTO /Courtesy)

MBABANE – The Kingdom of eSwatini has dismissed reports that King Mswati III has fled the kingdom after pro-democracy protests escalated on Monday following the government’s ban on marches.

In a statement, acting Prime Minister Thembu Masuku said King Mswati III was in the country and “continues to work with the government to advance the Kingdom’s goals”.

“Government will update the nation on interventions on the current situation as the day progresses,” Prime Minister Masuku said in a statement on Tuesday.

On Monday evening, Eswatini’s leading chain store, OK Foods, located in Matsapha, and other outlets were set on fire as pro-democracy protests turned into chaos, bringing the first threat on a monarch who has ruled the landlocked southern Africa country with a free hand.

The Kingdom of Eswatini has been facing protests for several days in at least 10 different places, forcing police to use teargas and live ammunition to disperse demonstrators.

The Eswatini leader rules the country as an absolute monarch and appoints the prime minister, ministers, judges and civil servants.

The protesters are calling for political reforms and want to elect their own Prime Minister.

Political parties have been banned in the country since 1973.

The latest protests were sparked by a decree banning the delivery of petitions.

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