The ruling Swapo Party has sold out Namibia to China and other western forces. This has subsequently led to the Namibian state being captured, a parliamentarian has said.
Commenting on the Chinese presence in Namibia, All People’s Party president Ignatius Shixwameni described Namibia and China’s relationship as a ‘costly one’ for Namibia.
Shixwameni, a former Swapo member, said this during the Affirmative Repositioning dialogue session that took place this week which was aimed at discoursing the controversial influence the Chinese have on policies in the country and whether the state has been captured. This conversation opened a can of worms affirming that the State has indeed been captured.
Other panellists included human rights lawyer Norman Tjombe, Popular Democratic Movement MP Vipuakuje Muharukua and labor activist Herbert Jauch.
The APP leader did not mince his words when he said the first institution that was captured in the country was indeed the Swapo Party.
“Swapo has sold out this country to the Chinese and other Western forces. It is quite evident that the party’s costly relationship with the Chinese government is the foundation of state capture,” said the APP President who also serves on the parliament committee on defense, security and international relations.
He took aim at what he terms the never-ending trips Swapo and government officials undertook to China, at times fully paid by their Chinese counterparts.
While Namibia’s state capture may not be as classical as in the case of neighbouring South Africa with the notorious Gupta family having had direct influence on the appointment of ministers during the Jacob Zuma era, Shixwameni says “ours is slowly but surely headed in the same direction.”
He said China enjoys an avalanche of privileges that not even Namibians enjoy and called on government to make public the loan conditions as well as commercial agreements signed between the two countries.
The influx of Chinese nationals in the country has been a bone of contention over the years with complaints mounting in regards the comforts enjoyed by the Chinese in Namibia.
While soft loans from the foreign government has helped Chinese citizens penetrate the domestic markets, Shixwameni believes the secret deals between cabinet and the Chinese are tantamount to state capture.
“Most ministers in this country are compromised and captured. We can start with the foreign bank accounts before we look at the tenders which the Chinese gobble up. It is even more disheartening because our own people are fueling the exploitation in our country. They come to us and ‘rent a blackie’ as a business front to win tenders. Look at all major construction tenders especially that of our roads. These tenders are given to those who have captured our state through Swapo,” he said.
Namibia has labeled China as an all-weather friend.
Shixwameni did not hold back to highlight President Geingob’s commercial relationship with business tycoon Jack Huang, a relationship he said is just one of many questionable ties.
“The Executive has been captured. This thing of a private company coming to present to cabinet is a serious matter we need to interrogate.
Who authorized the private company to come and do this presentation at cabinet? If it is the president, then it is true that the president is captured.”
In 2016, President Geingob, during the Independence Day celebration gave his stance on issues of good governance, transparency and corruption urging business people and entrepreneurs from inside and outside the country to contact the line ministries and relevant authorities on tenders and he reminded his audience that the doors to state house will not be opened for tender talks.
In an about turn of events, a Chinese company with front-man and Swapo Oshikoto regional coordinator Armas Amukwiyu gained access to present their tobacco plantation business plan at Statehouse, contrary to the President’s initial pronouncement two years ago.
The plantation idea has been widely criticized while some cabinet ministers have endorsed it. Secretary to Cabinet George Simataa defended the stance saying it was normal practice for business people to make presentations at cabinet.
“This is an opportunity not granted to any other Namibian businessman of note and this is supporting evidence that the state has been captured through Swapo. The Chinese have done one thing; by targeting those in power, buying them off and giving them gifts and in return get what they want.
It is actually not state capture but legalised theft that is happening here.
The people come through the backdoor, through our compromised leaders. These deals get signed with our backs turned. That money does not stay in Namibia and the sad thing is that we have Namibians who are in cahoots with the Chinese stealing from future generations,” said Shixwameni. According to Shixwameni, Chinese loans will mature in 2022 and the country will be finding itself between a rock and hard place when it comes to repaying the soft loans.
Should the country decide to renew these loans, the country will be digging itself into more debt; and should government decide to cut ties, the country would have to pay a hefty price, which falls into the Chinese’s favour.
If things take that route, Namibia might suffer Sri Lanka’s fate. Struggling to pay debts to Chinese firms, the nation of Sri Lanka was arm-twisted to hand over their strategic port of Hambantota to China on a 99-year lease. Officials say Sri Lanka owes more than $8 billion to state-controlled Chinese firms. The port is said to be valued at $1.1 billion. “We are caught up in a cycle that is obvious. The Chinese have imperialist aspirations with us. We are actually at the verge of other re-colonialization at the hands of colonial forces. Let us scrutinize the soft loans so that we don’t compromise this generation and that to come. The people that are compromising this country are too old. They will not be there in 10 years and the people who will be there to face the consequences will be the coming generation,” said the APP leader.
Namibian Parliamentarian Vipuakuje Muharukua also shared the same sentiments saying the relationship between government and China needs enhanced scrutiny as it is marked with secrecy.
“The people of China are sponsoring state capture in Namibia. We have Chinese at China Town doing business and work that Namibians can do. On the other side of town you have Namibians doing carpentry work alongside the road. Government has not even given them a place or shade. When it rains, their products get rained on while the Chinese products are well protected,” he said.
“The people who are eating in this country are united by one fact, and it is the fact that they need to eat.
They are united by the fact that they need to steal from each and every one of us while we are busy disputing petty differences,” he added.
Human rights activist and lawyer Norman Tjombe also narrating how the Chinese feature on top of government’s priority list in terms of employment and comfort. Tjombe made reference to major construction projects such as the construction of the Independence Museum which did not employ any Namibian, but only foreign nationals.
“There was no Namibia employed at that site. 200 000 jobs have been created in Spain from our fishing industry. These are jobs that our own people can do. So it is not only the Chinese but we have been captured by many other local and foreign interests.”
Unionist Herbert Jauch highlighted that while Namibians may view the Chinese donations as simple generosity, business is business for the Chinese and they have no other interest than to exploit the country for their benefit.
China’s investment in Africa is focused on manufacturing, services and resource extraction which Jauch said the republic will by all means get their hands on through sitting governments.
“They [China] do not have an interest in national politics as they only want what benefits them.
We have Husab that does not care about uranium prices in the world because it only extracts uranium for nuclear power plants in China.
They need to sort out the problem of unemployment in China, so, those workers who cannot be accommodated in their local economies will be shipped off with the project in African countries.”