Norwegian MP will be “good ambassador” for Swaziland

“My three day trip in the country has given me a very strong impression of the Swazi people. The trip has been full of laughter, which is a result of the friendliness of the people. I am going to be a good ambassador for Swaziland in the Norwegian Parliament,” Norwegian MP, Arne Haugen, said after his visit to Swaziland to “observe the beef production sector and assist on how to help Swazi farmers improve their production” as the Swazi Observer, a newspaper owned by Swaziland’s absolute monarch King Mswati, put it. According to the paper, “he has visited a number of feedlots with assistance from minister of Agriculture Clement Dlamini.”

This praise of Swaziland, an absolute monarchy where political parties have been illegal since a State of Emergency was introduced in 1973, and where police and security forces clamp down heavily on any peaceful manifestations of protest against the lack of democratic reform, is rather surprising from an official Norwegian delegate. Especially as Norway usually advocates human rights, and because Norway’s Ambassador to South Africa, Tor Christian Hildan last August compared Swaziland to apartheid-South Africa and spoke of the “growing problems and lack of human rights and freedom of speech in Swaziland.”

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