Just two months after Africa’s last absolute monarch, King Mswati III changed the name of the country Swaziland to eSwatini, a human rights activist from the country is challenging the decision in court.
King Mswati III announced the name change during the celebration of the Kingdom’s 50th independence anniversary.
But activist, Thulani Maseko has argued in a High Court submission that the decision undermined the constitution and was a waste of money, considering the country has had to grapple with HIV/AIDS, news agency Reuters reports.
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He further argued that King Mswati III took the decision without the consent of his people, and hence the decision should be set aside by the court.
“Every citizen has a right to take part in the conduct of public affairs, directly or through freely chosen representatives,” Maseko said in court papers cited by Reuters.
The Attorney General’s Office, which is named in the papers, is yet to respond to the submission.
Eswatini, previously the Kingdom of Swaziland, gained independence from Great Britain on September 6, 1968 and the king was born on April 19, 1968.
King Mswati III ascended the throne at the age of 18 after his father’s demise.
He rules the country with absolute political and military authority and is noted for stifling dissent and mass protests.
In April, there were clashes in the country after over 2,000 people joined a rare demonstration organised by the Trade Union Congress of Swaziland (TUCOSWA) in Mbabane.
Police fired rubber bullets at the protesters who were marching to the prime minister’s office to present a petition against excessive spending towards the celebration.
There were allegations that claimed the government purchased a fleet of luxury BMWs among other accusations which the government denied.