Accessibility links

Breaking News

Eswatini PM Dies at 52; Cause Not Specified

FILE - Prime Minister of Eswatini Ambrose Dlamini speaks during the COP24 U.N. Climate Change Conference 2018 in Katowice, Poland, Dec. 3, 2018.

The prime minister of the African kingdom of Eswatini died Sunday in a South African hospital, the government announced Sunday without specifying the cause of this death.

Ambrose Dlamini, prime minister of the continent's last absolute monarchy, was 52 years old. Eswatini was formerly known as Swaziland.

"His majesty has asked me to inform the nation of the sad and untimely death" of the prime minister "this afternoon while being treated in a hospital in South Africa," Deputy Prime Minister Themba Masuku said in a press release.

He had been hospitalized in South Africa since December 1, more than two weeks after being diagnosed with COVID-19.

He announced November 15 that he had tested positive for the coronavirus that causes the disease, adding that he was asymptomatic and feeling well. He was then preparing to "work from home" until cleared by doctors.

But it was decided, "in order to accelerate his recovery," to transfer him to a South African hospital December 1, the deputy prime minister announced.

According to the latest figures released Sunday, before the announcement of this death, Eswatini recorded more than 6,700 cases including 127 deaths from COVID-19, for a population of 1.2 million inhabitants.

In October 2018, Mandvulo Ambrose Dlamini, former bank director and then CEO of the Swazi branch of mobile phone giant MTN, succeeded Sibusiso Barnabas Dlamini, who had recently died of illness.

The role of the head of government is extremely limited in the Eswatini, where the king, in office since 1986, appoints ministers and controls parliament.

In this poor and landlocked country in southern Africa, political parties are not allowed to participate in the polls.