King of Taiwan’s African ally flees country amid protests: Reports | Taiwan News
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – King Mswati III of Eswatini, Taiwan’s only official diplomatic ally in Africa, is said to have fled his country amid escalating protests.
South African newspaper SABC News on Tuesday (June 29) cited “unconfirmed reports” of riots in the central town of Eswatini in Matsapha, leaving several injured, and reported that Mswati III had left the country amid the troubles.
Protesters reportedly took more extreme measures over the weekend. Shops have been torched and images of people torching and looting delivery trucks are circulating online.
The protests centered on calls for democratic reform and an end to police brutality.
Mswati III is the last absolute monarch of Africa and one of the few who remain in the world. He has the power to appoint the country’s prime minister and judges of the Supreme and High Court and is constitutionally entitled to choose a majority of Senate legislators and 10 of the maximum 66 members of the House.
The Eswatini government denies leaving the kingdom, writing on Twitter that it “assures the nation that His Majesty King Mswati III is in the country and continues to work with the government to advance the kingdom’s goals.”
Mswati III has drawn criticism for his penchant for opulence as the head of a country with the 10th highest income inequality in the world, according to the Human Development Index, and where more than half of the population lives with less than US $ 2 per day. The monarch owns two private jets and has lavished dozens of luxury cars on his 15 wives.
The ruler changed the name of the Kingdom of Swaziland to Eswatini on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of its independence from Great Britain.