Eswatini’s prime minister becomes first global leader to die of COVID-19

Eswatini Prime Minister Ambrose Dlamini, has died at age 52, after battling a bout of COVID-19 illness in neighboring South Africa.

Dlamini tested positive for COVID-19 four weeks ago and was rushed across the border on December 1 for medical care. At that time, Deputy Prime Minister Themba Masuku said Dlamini was stable and responding well to treatment.

In a statement announcing his boss’ demise, Masuku said, “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.”

Dlamini was appointed prime minister 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 managing director of Eswatini Nedbank Limited.

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

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