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MBABANE - When he was appointed prime minister (PM) on October 27, 2018, he had big plans to revive the country’s economy.

However, Ambrose Mandvulo Dlamini will never get the opportunity to turn the country’s economic fortunes around as he has since passed away.

His death, at the age of 52, comes after he was hospitalised in neighbouring South Africa, to speed up his recovery after he tested positive for COVID-19.

The PM is said to have passed on yesterday while in the neighbouring country.

Even though government had not yet issued an official statement at the time of compiling this report, several government officials and prominent people contacted by this publication confirmed to have received the sad news.


Before the news of his death spread like wildfire, especially on social media, this publication paid a visit to his homestead at Enhlanhleni in the Manzini Region and his father, Walter Mphatfwa Dlamini, made it known that he was concerned about his son.

This was just after 3pm and the father relayed that he received information that his son’s condition had worsened as he developed water in his lungs. 

However, he said yesterday he got an update that the water had been drained and his son transferred to a ward where he was recovering. 

Walter said since yesterday morning, he had not been able to get an update from either his son’s wife or his security personnel, who were watching over him. Before being transferred to SA, the PM had been previously receiving treatment at the Lubombo Referral Hospital, where he spent almost a week, following admission to the Mbabane Government Hospital ICU. The former MTN CEO took over the reins of being head of government from deceased former PM Barnabas Sibusiso Dlamini.

Other previous prime ministers include Prince Makhosini, Prince Mabandla, Prince Sotja, Prince Mbilini and Absalom Themba Dlamini.

Before being appointed PM, Ambrose led Eswatini MTN, where he was chief executive officer (CEO).

After his appointment by the King, it was revealed that he had actually lost out on an opportunity to head Botswana MTN. This was relayed by his father, who said before his appointment, Ambrose was preparing to move to Botswana in January 2019, a move which had already been endorsed by His Majesty King Mswati III. Walter claimed that MTN wanted his son to explore other avenues, and that was why he was being moved to Botswana.

He said they could not, however, go against His Majesty’s wishes as he had seen some qualities in his son.

Also, after the appointment, the father did not hide his worry that his son was going to take a pay-cut as he earned more as CEO of Eswatini MTN.

The deceased PM had a passion for education as after he had completed his Bachelor of Commerce Degree and worked for a couple of years, he received a scholarship to study in the United States of America (USA), where he obtained a Master’s Degree.


After his appointment, Ambrose declared that the country would soar like an eagle again.

He then announced a strategy, which detailed eight drastic decisions which he said would provide the way to saving the country from an economic abyss.

This was at a press conference held in Parliament in November, where he announced that his Cabinet decided to implement major internal fiscal decisions to enhance financial prudence and controls as means of dealing with the current economic challenges.

As if he wanted to make a statement that he had come to introduce a new era in the operations of government, he outlined that he, the deputy prime minister, Cabinet ministers, presiding officers, principal secretaries and all others in the same category, would no longer travel first class, but business class when flying on national duties.

He also announced that all other public servants will fly in economy class.

For years, there had been concerns from Members of Parliament (MPs), economists and the public at large that so much money was being spent on international trips that were undertaken by government top officials, including ministers. The second decision he announced was that government would not buy new vehicles for him and the DPM in the interim, but instead they would utilise the vehicles used by their predecessors which would only be serviced as and when required.

“Government will not hire any vehicles for use by Cabinet ministers. They will utilise vehicles available in the government pool. All vehicles recently rented for ministers will be returned to contain expenditure,” the PM said, as he outlined the third decision taken by his Cabinet.

Also mentioned in the fiscal decisions was that monitoring and evaluation mechanisms for all external travel shall be enhanced to ensure that only assignments of national importance were embarked upon by civil servants.

This, the PM said, was also applicable to parastatals that were expected to strictly adhere to their governing policies and procedures and ensure cost-effective measures.

“All sponsored external travel, as approved, will no longer attract quarter rate for all public servants. Tendering within government will be suspended for lack of effective controls and suspected overpricing. However, in situations of pressing need, Cabinet will advise,” highlighted the PM.

In order to ensure that the decisions mapped well with the country’s future aspirations, including attaining First World status by 2022, the PM assured that a strategic road map towards economic recovery would be presented by government in due course.

The Deputy Prime Minister (DPM), Themba Masuku, in a statement he issued last night 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. 

“Government, in collaboration with the family, will keep the nation informed of subsequent arrangements. May his soul rest in peace.”

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