Tuesday 11 May 2021
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From Ondobe to Beijing

By Staff Reporter

The Patriot had the opportunity this week to speak with Comrade Ambassador Dr Elia George Kaiyamo, to pick his brain about all things China, elections and the general state of the land of the brave.
Born in the Ohangwena Region at Ondobe village on January 10th, 1951, Dr Kaiyamo is a patriot, passionate about his country
and hopeful for its future.
Kaiyamo was a teacher for many years and during 1988 and 1999 he left for Cape Town to pursue a bachelor’s degree. Returning after independence, until 1991, he was a principal at A Shipena High School in Windhoek where he was also an organiser for the Swapo party during that time.
During 1991, Dr Kaiyamo joined the Ministry of Foreign affairs and the second part of his journey with the Swapo party commenced.
“I am the (current) Ambassador not only to the Republic of China, but also to Mongolia, North Korea, Vietnam and Cambodia with offices in Beijing. Beijing is a big city with a lot of traffic, and you adapt to the differences that are in the city,”  Kaiyamo enthuses.
“I like China’s political development, because the Chinese are very clear on where they are coming from, they are very clear on where they are and where they are going to and everybody is pushing in the same direction.
What I have found very interesting is that everybody supports the government.
It does not matter whether you are in the Communist party or not, the President of the Republic of China is their President.
There is not this confusion (sic) of you have this president elected but you don’t want to believe in him. Even in the Chinese parliament, they have all representations; even the minorities are represented.”
Dr Kaiyamo extols the way the Chinese government rules its people and admires that the citizens of that country, including as far as religious entities are concerned, respect the laws of the country.
“They are not oppressed, what happens is that people must just respect the laws (sic), you cannot just put up churches; you must apply in terms of the law.
They can do what they want to do as long as they respect the views and the laws of the country. There is no misinterpretation of the laws of the country.
If the government says we have an allocation that looks after religious institutions, then they have to follow that.”
Dr Kaiyamo explains to The Patriot that membership into the Communist party in China is not just a matter of applying and becoming a member; there are steps to be followed and stages to pass through, before one qualifies to be a member.
“I have learned quite a lot there, because even people who are not members of the Communist party follow the rule of law and are loyal to the government.
In terms of governance we are all pushing in the same direction, but what I have seen is that the Chinese respect authority.
Because of their historical background, they have gone through all stages of cultural revolutions, reforms, poverty and they are at a level now where they can say ‘we are pushing in a better direction for all our people.”

Corruption in China
“In China corruption is not tolerated. Maybe what we need to do here, is that we need to strengthen our laws, at all levels.
You need to understand the way that a society develops; in order to reach a certain point, there are milestones that you will have to overcome in order to reach it.
And from that point, to reach the next marker, there will be more milestones to overcome.
If you bypass any of these steps or lessons, you will have to go back to the beginning and repeat those same lessons again.
What is needed is for all of us to be on the same page.
We need to understand what democracy is all about; if we miss one part of the democratic cycle of the society, we will have a backlog. We do not necessarily have to go through the same stages, but society develops according to its needs and the climate on the ground.
In Namibia’s case, because we have different levels of development; some people come from the village, some from the towns and so on; we are all in a classist society, so now we need to teach ourselves what democracy is all about.
Is it possible to be on the same page in terms of understanding what democracy is individually and collectively as a country?
“When we talk of democracy (sic), let us as the ruling party do our work of educating our people and setting the direction we should be heading towards.
The other people must then also help the government to achieve its goals; we have a constitution, so everybody must push in the direction of our constitution.
We must also make sure that our people are educated, and I am not only talking about paper.
As parents we must teach our children to respect the law, to respect themselves, to respect the society and also to respect the seniors in society.
That is only African. We need also to respect our women; we need to come out of that African mentality that a woman is nothing.
Dr Kaiyamo urges Namibians to be aware of what he calls the ‘imperialist agenda’, which seeks to cause trouble in the country. Imperialism is a policy or ideology of extending a country’s rule over foreign nations, often by military force or by gaining political and economic control of other areas.
“The imperialists are not happy with Namibia and that we are peaceful, they want to cause confusion. Look what is happening in Hong Kong, there are protests everywhere; who are behind all these protests?
We must also be aware of the imperialist agendas; we as people must be united, even though we have differences.
Namibians need to understand that we are part of land of the brave and that land of the brave has a place in the democratic space (sic).
Nobody has more rights, in this space, than anybody else and that is why we need to respect each other.”
Dr Kaiyamo worked in Europe at various Namibian embassies, including in Russia, Germany and Austria from 1991 to 1997.
Between 1997 and 1999, he served as desk officer at the foreign affairs ministry.
In 2000 he was selected into the National Assembly and re-elected in 2005 and 2009.
In 2010 he was appointed deputy minister of foreign affairs by then President Hifikipunye Pohamba, where he served until 2015.
On 2 September 2016, President Hage Geingob appointed Dr Kaiyamo as Ambassador-designate to the People’s Republic of China.

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