Inside Story

Will Eswatini’s king respond to calls for democracy?

Protesters have defied curfews to demand change in Africa’s last absolute monarchy.

Eswatini is one of the world’s last absolute monarchies. King Mswati has ruled the kingdom, previously known as Swaziland, for 35 years.

But for the past week, people have been defying curfews to demand democratic reforms. They are angry at widespread poverty, while the king spends millions on private jets and luxury cars.

Opposition groups say soldiers have killed dozens of protesters, and the government has denied reports that the king has fled to South Africa.

Eswatini’s regional allies are calling for a political dialogue to calm the unrest.

So will King Mswati listen to the demands for political change?

Presenter: Sami Zeidan


Mlungisi Makhanya – leader, opposition People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO) party

Menzi Ndhlovu – senior political and country risk analyst, Signal Risk

Christopher Vandome – research fellow, Chatham House Africa programme

Eswatini’s government did not respond to a request for a representative to join the discussion panel.