Eswatini king appoints new prime minister

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
King Mswati III has appointed a new prime minister for Eswatini.
King Mswati III has appointed a new prime minister for Eswatini.
  • King Mswati III announced that Cleopas Dlamini is the new Eswatini prime minister.
  • The announcement was made during the king’s first public address on recent protests.
  • Protesters had been calling for the right to elect their own prime minister.

King Mswati III announced a new prime minister for Eswatini on Friday.

During a national dialogue to address the unrest in the country, the king announced that Cleopas Dlamini would be the country’s new prime minister.

Dlamini is chief executive officer of the Public Service Pension Fund, and becomes the eleventh prime minister appointed by the king.

READ | South African PR firm cuts ties with Eswatini government

Dlamini replaces acting prime minister Themba Masuku, who took over after Ambrose Dlamini succumbed to Covid-19 in December last year.

The announcement was made during a sibaya, a traditional forum for public dialogue. It was the first time the king had addressed the violent protests in the country that have led to the deaths of at least 50 people.

ANALYSIS | Eswatini, Africa's last absolute monarchy, reaches a point of no return

During his address at the Ludzidzini Royal Residence, King Mswati III outlined plans for rebuilding the country and recovering from a loss of at least R3 billion due to arson and looting. He also mocked reports that he was out of the country and attributed his silence to observance of Covid-19 regulations.

The announcement goes against calls from pro-democracy protesters, who demanded electoral reforms that would allow them to choose their own prime minister. While Eswatini citizens can elect a parliamentarian to present their constituency in government, the king reserves the power to elect the prime minister.

Just over 20km away, in the commercial capital Manzini, police dispersed protesters who were marching for justice and change.

Dozens gathered at the royal residence for the sibaya. The sibaya, a meeting at the royal kraal, was formalised in the 2005 constitution as a form of public participation in which citizens, regardless of political affiliation, can air their grievance to the king and other leaders. According to the constitution, "the people, through sibaya, constitute the highest policy and advisory council (Libandla) of the nation".

The News24 Africa Desk is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation. The stories produced through the Africa Desk and the opinions and statements that may be contained herein do not reflect those of Hanns Seidel Foundation.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
Zama zama crackdown: What are your thoughts on West Village residents taking the law into their own hands?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Authorities should bring in the army already
10% - 1288 votes
Illegal miners can't be scapegoated for all crime
51% - 6422 votes
What else did we expect without no proper policing
35% - 4471 votes
Vigilante groups are also part of the problem
3% - 433 votes
Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Brent Crude
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.