Mbabane — King Mswati III has informed President Mokgweetsi Masisi about reverting to the original name eSwatini from Swaziland during a courtesy call the latter paid on him.
"When we celebrated the doughty King's celebration, we decided to restore the name because Swaziland was used by those who came from afar and could not pronounce the name eSwatini very well so, they decided to call us Swaziland. But we are now called the Kingdom of eSwatini. I hope your stay here will be comfortable and you will enjoy the Kingdom of eSwatini," he said when welcoming President Masisi during an official visit to the Kingdom.
In an interview with the King's live events engineer, Mr Mbuyazwe Dlamini said the name Swaziland changed to the Kingdom of eSwatini April 19, coinciding with the King's 50th birthday.
He said the move was a welcome development in order to distinguish the country's name from other nations, and pointed out that it was actually the country's name in their local tongue.
"African countries on getting independence reverted to their ancient names before being colonised. Botswana used to be called Bechuanaland, Lesotho Basotholand and Zimbabwe Rhodesia," he said.
Meanwhile, King Mswati III said President Masisi's visit and First Lady, Ms Neo Masisi, Kgosi Puso and the rest of the President's entourage was a sign of a good relationships that existed between Botswana and eSwatini.
"It is not so long that within 50 days of assuming office of Presidency you decided to pay a visit to the Kingdom of eSwatini and we are very pleased about the visit. I look forward to working closely with you to make our region and Africa a better continent," he said.
King Mswati III said the visit gave them an opportunity to further explore bilateral relations that existed between the two nations, adding that Batswana and the Swazis enjoyed historical ties which have remained warm and cordial.
He told President Masisi that eSwatini was preparing for primary and secondary elections, and that the commission preparing for elections had already made an announcement of election dates.
The King further said eSwatini was working hard to develop itself to become a first world country and was looking up to other countries who have made it.
He said a lot was needed in terms of economic reforms in the kingdom such as introducing economic zones to attractive foreign direct investment which would in turn employ Swazis and transform the country's economy.
"We need support of neighbours like you and we ensure that we use opportunities like your visit to exchange programmes and see what we can trade in," King Mswati stated.
He said he was hoping to work with Botswana to realise potential gains in the area of agriculture, and that he looked forward to overcoming most of the challenges that besieged the African continent in the health sector.
eSwatini, he said, was the current chair of African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA), a body that shouldered the responsibility to find solutions of eradicating malaria in the continent.
King Mswati expressed worry that the disease continued to shorten the life expectancy of African citizens.
For his part, eSwatini deputy prime minister, Senator Paul Dlamini said President Masisi's appointment was an indication of the high regard and confidence his predecessor, Lt Gen. Dr Seretse Khama Ian Khama and Batswana had in his leadership.
Source : BOPA