Monday 19 April 2021
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China-Namibia: Bilateralism and return to Colonialism

After being ruined by colonialism, apartheid, self-inflicted administrative corruption, Namibia has entered a new ruinous relationship, with China.
With a collapse of leadership since independence, we’ve moved from a poor self-government to a position of having surrendered to the Asian nation of China. Within 28 years, the Chinese government has infiltrated our government and are key role players of major parts of our economy. With unprecedented impunity they have been involved in money-laundering, awarded key state tenders, and their cunning generous loans have supplanted the emptying state coffers. China’s presence is seen all over this country and its citizens are breaking so many laws, often without any repercussions.
Whatever be the agreement that our government entered with China, it’s a relationship that does not inspire confidence. In fact, it’s an unhealthy relationship. Why are there so many illegal activities being carried out by Chinese nationals, costing us hundreds of millions which are going to China, yet, we think that the China is our economic partner. The abuse which is experience by this country through China raises serious questions concerning the capability of our SWAPO leadership and its government.
The minister of finance recently gave a public report that Namibia owes China N$ 76 billion, a figure I still think the minister is being economic with the truth thereof.  How did we come to get here, we’ve literally mismanaged our own coffers and gave leeway to thieves to help themselves with public funds without consequences. And when loan shark governments like that of China stretch out their hands, we grabbed the whole arm. This is not to say any other country’s loan would have been better.
The post-independent leadership and government have continuously indicated to be effeminate and cowardly when it comes to dealing with China. They have failed to manage our resources, created artificial scarcities so they may consume the surplus through theft and now have literally sold the country to Chinese control. Unfortunately, it’s the public that suffers the brunt of this cursed relationship, taking away from the poor and marginalised.
We can’t blame the Chinese, it’s our government and leaders who are the culprits and have gone on a rampage to insure that the generation that comes after them, will be under a new colonial master. How would our national leaders explain to us that we are involved in an economic liberation struggle, but have the courage to eat up the bread of the nation and squander part of it with China? My critique isn’t only towards Dr. Geingob’s administration, it’s inclusive of Tate Nuujoma and Tate Pohamba, and these fathers of us have failed us.
I’m still to understand as to whether colonialism and oppression somehow affects behaviour and thinking of formerly oppressed persons to always be looking for new oppressor. Because that’s the only logical explanation that seems to remain as to why African states continue to crave to become servants of neo-colonialism. How do we who have experienced some of the world’s worse forms of oppression still return to be used by China and be taken advantage of right in our own country? If not that this is a sign of a leadership and government that had no clue of what it was signing up to when it took over from the former oppressors.
We should by all means seek international relationship with other nations because of the context of globalisation, however, not the kind that we have witnessed with China. The problem is in forming ties that are obviously disadvantaging the local Namibians. For example, think about major construction tenders that have been awarded to Chinese nationals over the last ten years or so. The money that would have been used to benefit the local economy is leaving the country while we do have local construction companies that have histories of quality delivery but not being awarded these tenders. Not to mention that these Chinese owned businesses would even come with their own manual labourers, while we have hundreds of young men standing by the traffic lights looking for employment.
It’s about time that we raise questions concerning the ethical violations enshrined in this unequal relationship of Namibia and China, because it is affecting every citizen. In fact, this is moral treason against its citizens. This has strengthened disillusionment of the public and China continues to have the upper hand while we wallow in this post-independent misery of our own making. Failure to ensure that oppressors will never have an upper hand on your citizens and resources isn’t only a political issue, it’s a failure to exercise justice as it’s becoming your citizens.
No matter of what the positives be, we should admit that this is a cursed relationship, only serving the interest of China and putting us back into the grip of colonialism. It’s a relationship that indicates significant leadership failure from the side of Namibia as China continues to take more from us that what it is giving. It’s a master and servant relationship and not that of equals, and we chose to be the latter in this relationship. Like many African countries that are deep in the pits of debts, we are now the new kid on the block. How far are we from being a Chinese colony?

Disclaimer: The views in this article are my personal expressions and do not represent those of IUM or its associates.

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