… is China a friend indeed?
By Elvis Muraranganda
CHINA continues to bleed the country out of billions of dollars through hordes of public procurement tenders despite the Asian country declining to join in the UN resolution 435 vote which paved the way for Namibia’s independence.
Apart from being a major beneficiary of billions of dollars from public procurement tenders since independence, China has also benefited from Namibia’s voting patterns at the United Nations General Assembly, although the Asian country hardly had an influence in UN resolution 435 vote which freed Namibia from apartheid South Africa.
Namibia’s voting patterns during the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) voting sessions have been severely aligned to China and the eastern world in general.
Yet since assuming its place in the UNGA in April 1990, Namibia surprisingly finds itself being accused of systematically abstaining on country resolutions during the UNGA voting sessions and at the same time frequently voting with the Non-aligned Movement, and China with an increase in alignment with Russia over the last decade.
The global report on Namibia’s voting pattern states that 90 percent of the time Namibia and China’s votes are similar while there has been a steady negative trend with Namibia’s percent agreement with the US.
It seems Namibia’s formal votes in the UN have generated interest in the US, per the report.
Political commentators this week expressed mixed feelings as to why China, which is shipping billions of dollars back home, did not take part in this tipping-point vote.
It was through this resolution that a ceasefire agreement and UN-supervised elections in then- South West Africa were proposed and adopted by the United Nations Security Council.
Some say China was correct to refuse to participate as Resolution 435 was allegedly not genuine, while others believe the country did not want to be associated with a process authored by the Western Contact Group.
The group included France, United Kingdom and United States, Canada and West Germany.
Although there is no trace of a public official record as to why the East Asian nation did not participate 39 years ago, the study has revealed that Namibia holds no grudges against her friend.
Namibia has all the years voted in favour of all UN resolutions calling for the self-determination of the people of Palestinian from Israel but has maintained its long-held support for the ‘One-China Policy’ which denies the people of Taiwan the right to self-rule.
Per the Chinese embassy in Namibia’s website, Founding President Sam Nujoma, in 2006 during a meeting with then Chinese diplomat, made it clear that Namibia only recognises the fact that there is one China in the world and that Taiwan is an inalienable part of China.
It has been recorded in history that China supported Namibia’s armed liberation struggle with weaponry and training, however political commentators were left confounded as to why the country would not vote for the resolution which gave birth the Namibia of today.
Just a day after Nujoma was sworn-in as the first Namibian head of State, the two countries established diplomatic relations, which to this day have resulted in Chinese nationals being awarded massive State contracts in road, railway and building construction among others.
The leader of the official opposition, DTA’s McHenry Venaani believes the geo-political environment in which China was operating in especially in the mid-70s had an impact on its decision to vote or not.
“Its ideological shape was different from today and then there was also the transition that was taking place under Deng Xiaoping (a Chinese revolutionary),” said Venaani.
“Then-China avoided to be seen close to resolutions sponsored or supported by the western countries, hence their avoidance of Resolution 435.”
Political commentator Phanuel Kaapama strongly believes that China just like Czechoslovakia (now Slovakia and the Czech Republic) and the Soviet Union (Russia), did not want anything with Resolution 435.
“The Resolution was crafted by the Western Contact Group so that there will be a smooth transition in Namibia and in a way to protect the oppressor settlers,” explained Kaapama.
“South Africa was losing legitimacy at the time because its apartheid policies and there were several UN resolutions against the practice.”
He continued: “They learned from Angola and Mozambique where the transition was abrupt and the Portuguese settlers were displaced and faced hardship.”
Per Kaapama, at the time of Resolution 435, Germany wanted to protect the German community in Namibia from facing the same fate.
“China wanted the UN to take total control and hence they couldn’t be part of the whole process and they couldn’t agree with it either.”
One of Namibia’s first petitioners at the UN and veteran politician Mburumba Kerina defended China saying it was in fact Taiwan that was part of the voting on Resolution 435.
“At the time the Americans have pushed and included Taiwan and it was not China which was part of the Security Council,” indicated Kerina.
“China’s voting power has always been behind us and they always supported but at they were not part of that structure when resolution 435 was passed.”
Another commentator Hoze Riruako said Namibia has been blowing the China-horn for ‘belly issues’ and not necessarily because of a foreign policy position when it comes to voting at the UN.
Riruako did not mince his words when he said, “China is known to walk around with a chequebook and given Namibia’s economic dilemma the country is forced to dance to the Chinese song on the international platform.
“Namibian has been voting from the belly and needs to come clean on where it stands on issues,” Riruako explained.
“Just like any other state, Namibia needs to locate and reposition herself in the geo-political setup of the world by having a clear-cut foreign policy.”
He cautioned that Namibia needs to have a more futuristic approach to the decisions taken at the UN and said the basis should be the future and not the belly.
“The future is uncertain. It is important for every country to come up with a futuristic foreign policy that will guide all the international engagements.
“Namibia needs a foreign policy that will sway the opinion of the global community.”
Questions sent to the Chinese diplomatic mission in Namibia and the local International Relations ministry, remained unanswered at the time of going to print.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015