SWAZILAND’S King Mswati III has changed the name of the country to the Kingdom of eSwatini, a BBC journalist has tweeted.
The monarch reportedly made the announcement during the double celebration in the southern African country. The first landmark is his 50th birthday and the country’s 50 years of independence.
The kingdom of Swaziland – officially Eswatini – is known to be one of the world’s last remaining absolute monarchies. The king who has been in charge for 32 years took over at the age 18.
He rules by decree over his subjects. King Mswati III presides over the annual Reed Dance ceremony during which occasion he chooses a new bride. The king currently has over a dozen wives.
Mswati has over the years been at the crossroad between ruling as a traditional monarch or modernising his kingdom through multi-party democracy.
Rights groups like Amnesty International, Freedom House, Human Rights Watch and Reporters Without Borders have accused him of policies that trample human rights and democracy. In August 2004, British newspaper the Daily Mirror named him as one of the world’s 10 worst dictators on a list headed by the leaders of North Korea and Myanmar.