Eswatini PM becomes first world leader to die after testing positive for coronavirus

Dlamini was undergoing treatment for coronavirus after testing positive four weeks ago

Stuti Mishra
Monday 14 December 2020 07:47
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<p>File image: Mandulo Ambrose Dlamini, Prime Minister of Eswatini (right) speaks to Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi (Left), President of Botswana, at a plenary session of African Leaders at the World Economic Forum (WEF) Africa in 2019</p>

File image: Mandulo Ambrose Dlamini, Prime Minister of Eswatini (right) speaks to Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi (Left), President of Botswana, at a plenary session of African Leaders at the World Economic Forum (WEF) Africa in 2019

The prime minister of Eswatini, Ambrose Dlamini, has died four weeks after testing positive for coronavirus, a government statement confirmed.

The 52-year-old leader of the tiny absolute monarchy had been undergoing treatment in neighbouring South Africa since 1 December and passed away late on Sunday.

"Their Majesties have commanded that I inform the nation of the sad and untimely passing away of His Excellency the Prime Minister Ambrose Mandvulo Dlamini. His Excellency passed on this afternoon while under medical care in a hospital in South Africa", Deputy Prime Minister Themba Masuku said in a statement.

Although the official statement does not mention the exact cause of his death, he tested positive for coronavirus on 16 November and was initially asymptomatic. It was later announced that he would be moved to South Africa to "guide and fast track his recovery." At that time, it was said that he was stable and was responding well to treatment.

While several world leaders have been infected with coronavirus, including US president Donald Trump, the UK prime minister Boris Johnson, and Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro, this is the first time a world leader has died after contracting the virus.

Dlamini was appointed as the prime minister of Eswatini in November 2018 following his position as the chief executive officer of MTN Eswatini. He had worked in the banking industry for more than 18 years, including being the managing director of Eswatini Nedbank Limited.

The country has a population of around 1.2 million people and has so far recorded 6,768 positive cases of the highly infectious respiratory disease, with 127 confirmed deaths, according to the health ministry.

The southern African nation Eswatini, formerly known as Swaziland before October 2018, is a tiny landlocked country in southern Africa, and one of the last absolute monarchies in the world. It is bordered by Mozambique to its northeast and South Africa to its north, west, and south.

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