The daughter of King Mswati III of Eswatini has denied rumours that he has fled the country following a week of pro-democracy protests, which were met with a violent crackdown.
Sikhanyiso Dlamini, who serves as Eswatini’s information and technology minister, told BBC Focus on Africa: “Yes, we are in the kingdom”.
In recent days images of burning and looting have been screened from Eswatini, Africa’s last absolute monarchy.
But Ms Dlamini presented a different picture of recent events, saying:
“We are a kingdom of peace and we believe in peaceful dialogue. Under no circumstances would our people’s rights be infringed upon to prevent peaceful petitions.”
Though quiet has now returned to the streets of Eswatini, a broad-based coalition of civil society groups is calling for dialogue mediated by the South African regional bloc, Sadc – plus a new democratic constitution, the unbanning of political parties and a transitional authority.