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Embassy in Kenya could be re-opened

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By WELCOME DLAMINI - SWAZI TIMES-11-Sep-2009

MBABANE – Swaziland could find herself re-opening the embassy offices in the East African country of Kenya which were closed almost five years ago.

This follows an appeal that has been forwarded to Prime Minister Sibusiso Barnabas Dlamini by visiting Kenyan Minister of State Planning, National Development and Vision 2030, Wycliffe Ambetsa Oparanya. During a courtesy call to the PM at Hospital Hill yesterday morning, Oparanya told the head of government that his first purpose of coming to Swaziland was to renew the two countries’ relations.

He said there was a need for Swaziland to consider re-opening the closed embassy offices in Kenya, a step he said would be reciprocated by his country. “Swaziland has always had closed relations with Kenya even before we gained our independence and our former leader, Jomo Kenyatta, established and maintained the close relationship with Swaziland. “We hope that you will reconsider reopening your embassy in Kenya and we will also do the same here in Swaziland,” Oparanya said.

The visiting minister also took time paying tribute to the kingdom for the pivotal role it played in the liberation of many African states, Kenya inclusive. “It should not be forgotten that Swaziland played a pivotal role in the liberation of Africa and now all African states are independent,” he said.

Even though Swaziland closed her embassy offices in Kenya, the kingdom still has properties that it owns in that country, an issue that was recently raised in the august house by Member of Parliament Marwick Khumalo to Lutfo Dlamini, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

Khumalo queried the minister on the reasons for the continued allocation of money to the closed embassy for either purchasing vehicles or repairing existing structures. In response, the minister said, “Kenya being Swaziland’s first embassy has houses that have been purchased together with staff houses” and that “the houses are not totally dilapidated, they can be inhabited immediately”. The minister further informed parliament that selling the houses “does not make business sense, however, we should continue maintaining them”.

He said the houses did not have a title deed but government was looking at engaging legal officers on the issue. “We are currently working at the challenging issue of leasing out the houses. The minister is still working on the issue and will come up with a lasting solution,” the Foreign Affairs minister said then.


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