FILE PHOTO: King Mswati III of Swaziland addresses attendees during the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly at the U.N. headquarters in New York, New York, United States on September 29, 2015. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri/File Photo
MBABANE (Reuters) – eSwatini’s King Mswati has appointed Ambrose Dlamini, chief executive of the local unit of telecoms group MTN, as new prime minister of the southern African kingdom, local media reported.
Mswati is Africa’s last absolute monarch and has tight political control over the impoverished, land-locked nation formerly known as Swaziland, where political parties are banned. The king chooses the prime minister and government.
The Times of Swaziland reported that Mswati made the announcement to supporters on Saturday at his royal residence.
“The heavens told me that the person I will appoint should have your support and cooperation. You should cooperate with him so that tomorrow you don’t turn around and say the king gave you someone who knows nothing,” the paper quoted Mswati as saying.
The new prime minister replaces Sibusiso Dlamini, who died last month.
Swaziland also recently held legislative elections that are seen as largely symbolic and do not have party lists.
The king, who has several wives, is accused by critics and rights groups of using the public purse to fund his family’s lavish lifestyle, which he denies.
In September, public sector workers clashed with eSwatini police as they marched through the streets of the country’s second biggest city, part of wider protests to demand higher wages and reforms to the way the state pension fund is managed.
Writing by Ed Stoddard; Editing by Toby Chopra