Despite calls for democratic reforms as police cracked down on protests in eSwatini, King Mswati III has appointed a new Prime Minister.
Former pension fund boss, Cleopas Dlamini will replace Prime Minister Ambrose Dlamini who died in December after contracting COVID-19 , the king announced in his first public address since violent demonstrations broke out in the kingdom last month.
“I have prayed that I have a man that would bring the country to normalcy, restore the country and resuscitate the economy,” Mswati told crowds gathered on Friday at the Ludzidzini Royal Palace, south of the capital Mbabane.
Mswati III who was crowned in 1986 at the age of 18, has 15 wives and more than 25 children, is criticised for his extravagant lifestyle in Africa’s only remaining absolute monarchy where two-thirds of the population lives below the poverty line.
In the worst unrest in the country’s history, at least 27 people died as police clashed with protesters who were demanding the right to democratically elect a prime minister among other reforms.
eSwatini, a landlocked state in southern Africa, was previously known as Swaziland.