China is our friend – Kaiyamo

BEIJING - Namibian Ambassador to the People's Republic of China Dr Elia Kaiyamo says the Asian nation is Namibia's friend but bad Chinese should be dealt with under Namibian laws.

Kaiyamo, in a wide-ranging interview, stressed that China is the only nation that truly considers Namibia to be a friend and that the rotten apples in Namibia who are in bed with Namibians should face appropriate punishment.

His remarks come hot on the heels of a demonstration against the awarding of multi-billion-dollar infrastructure development tenders to Chinese businesses at the expense of Namibians.

The demonstration was organised by the Metal and Allied Workers' Union (Manwu), and the National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW) as well as the Affirmative Repositioning movement.

Over the years, the relationship between the Namibian government and Chinese business people has drawn massive criticism from various sectors of the Namibian society who questioned the awarding of certain contracts.

However, speaking from Beijing, Kaiyamo maintained that there is a need for improved Namibia-China relations which,

according to him, are already in good standing.

We need to harmonise our differences. China is our friend, no joke about that. We must not be discouraged by some of these rotten Chinese apples we find in Namibia. These are just individuals. It is not the Chinese government, Kaiyamo explained.

The Chinese government wants peace, stability and cooperation in a win-win situation. These Chinese in Namibia who are in bed with Namibian citizens to do bad things are neither supported by Namibian or Chinese governments. According to Kaiyamo, this must be the basis on which Namibians and Chinese people interact with each other and should further shape the attitudes between the citizens of both nations.

If there are challenges in our interaction, we can discuss them. China is our friend and China is the only country that considers Namibia as a friend. For your information, whether you like it or not, the biggest investment that China has in Africa is in Namibia, Kaiyamo said.

Kaiyamo added that Namibia must continue its bilateral cooperation with China on a win-win basis, which he says is what China stands for.

Let us apply our laws in Namibia. The Chinese apply their laws here. Let us apply our laws there. Why are we relaxing our laws against some of these unwanted elements?

However, he warned that Namibians should guard against promoting and encouraging anti-Chinese attitudes. If there are corrupt Chinese, let them be dealt with under our laws. Use our laws to put them in their place but we must respect each other and let us do things in good faith, Kaiyamo maintained.

He added that this practice has led to some Namibians including government officials as well departments, bypassing his Beijing office to engage in business activities in China.

If you want to do business in China, why don't you want the ambassador to know? What are you hiding? Why do you want to bypass the ambassador sent here by the President?

I am here to serve the Namibian people not my own interest. They do things like that and when there are problems they come to me. It is better to support the President's call of pulling in the same direction, said Kaiyamo.

On further China-Namibia engagement, the diplomat noted that China wants to deal with the world on a win-win basis for a shared future. The one belt, one road initiative (BRI) is a good thing and Namibia is part of it. This is when the world is cooperating, connecting to each other in terms of connection in the global village, Kaiyamo explained.

It will also give us an opportunity as Namibians to learn from them. The Chinese Premier Li Keqiang informed us that red-tape communication in government must be guided so that the people are served, the diplomat maintained. Kaiyamo said this is one lesson Namibia can draw by participating in the BRI.

In Namibia, we must find ways of putting some of our resources in developing our infrastructure. The harbour is done and now we must concentrate on the railway. In the next 10 years we must have a speed train moving between our towns and city, Kaiyamo remarked enthusiastically.

In a speech delivered at the Fourth Dr Theo-Ben Gurirab Lecture Series recently, Chinese Charge d'Affaires in Namibia Yang Jun highlighted that China has pumped a total of N$2.8 billion funds in grants and concessional loans over 20 China-aided projects in Namibia since 2015. He added that Chinese companies in Namibia have created 11 000 jobs so far among other success stories.

China and Namibia boast a solid traditional friendship. We stood side by side in struggles against imperialism and colonialism, and supported each other in nation building, said Yang.

Source: New Era Newspaper Namibia