The Communist Party of Eswatini has confirmed that King Mswati III has fled his country and he is reportedly hiding out in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Pro-democracy protests had been taken place in eSwatini for several days now in at least 10 different places. Police had reportedly used teargas and live ammunition in an attempt to disperse protesters, leading to injuries.
Since last week, the Communist Party of Swaziland (CPS) called for mass action in defiance of a ban on protests issued by the country’s absolute monarch King Mswati III.
Citizens have been calling for the “unbanning of political parties” which were outlawed in 1973 and an end to the autocratic rule of King Mswati who exercises full control of the judiciary and executive.
The king allegedly ran away amid pro-democracy protests sweeping the tiny kingdom.
Thokozane Kunene says protesters won’t stop until there is peace, and the king bows down to democracy.
Kunene: “It was discovered that a plane was leaving last night at around after 10pm. It was a special jet for Mswati, but we have discovered that he had left earlier and he had been hiding around Johonnesburg. The area where he has been spotted was around Sandton.”
“Last night the army reinforced through choppers throwing teargas, supported by ground forces, shooting at protesters and people on the road, injuring several of them. Some of them are suspected dead, but confirmation is still underway this morning,” Kunene added.
The CPS called for “mass defiance of the regime’s directive” and said that the people “won’t go down without a fight.”
“The regime is opposed to any move, peaceful or otherwise, meant for the democratisation of Swaziland. The attacks against the people will only intensify with the passage of time,” it said.
“The CPS will continue to organise the people towards a nationwide mass uprising for the total overthrow of the Mswati autocracy, for freedom,” it said.
King Mswati III has been criticized for his lavish lifestyle and alleged human rights violations. He is a well-known polygamist with at least 15 wives and 23 children. He was selected to be the next King at the age of 14 and he was crowned King shortly after his 18th birthday in 1986.
The King rules the country as an absolute monarch and it is he who chooses the Prime Minister, ministers, judges and civil servants. The protesters have been calling for political reforms and wish to elect their own Prime Minister. Political parties have been banned in the country since 1973. – Agencies ■