China breaks silence on 'military presence'

While the Chinese embassy has denied any plans to build a military base in Namibia or that thousands of Chinese troops are currently in the Land of the Brave, defence minister Peter Vilho's secrecy in parliament is continuing to cause a storm.

14 September 2020 | Politics



The Chinese embassy in Namibia has broken its silence on persistent allegations being raised in parliament and elsewhere of a massive Chinese military presence in Namibia, saying the allegations were not true and were “purely rumours”.

Embassy spokesperson Helen Lu Hairong also said there had been no talks between the Chinese and Namibian governments about China building a military base in the Land of the Brave. This follows a heated debate in the National Assembly last week which saw both the Landless People's Movement (LPM) and Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) raising the spectre of a huge alleged Chinese military presence in Namibia, with the LPM claiming 3 500 troops from the Asian giant where currently in the country. Defence minister Peter Vilho, while responding to the LPM's Henny Seibeb in parliament last week, did little to allay Namibian fears.

“If there was anything that needs to be brought to parliament in relation to defence it would have been brought here already. If the issues you are referring to were not brought to parliament, it means that they were not worth bringing to parliament. The rest of the information that you asked is confidential,” Vilho said.

Seibeb again yesterday claimed the Chinese military is building a base in Namibia to counter United States' dominance in Botswana.

He also said they had been informed of more than 3 500 Chinese military personnel in Namibia as well as imported artillery.

He said the troops are stationed at Walvis Bay, Swakopmund and Henties Bay. However, Hairong denied that there were any Chinese personnel stationed in the Namibia currently or that there had been any talk of China setting up a military base.


According to Seibeb, China wants to set up a facility in Namibia similar to the US military base in Botswana.

“The refusal of him (Vilho) to answer justifies that there is a sinister plan to create a base for China to counter US interests in Botswana,” he said.

Political commentator Ndumba Kamwanyah said yesterday that Vilho is required to answer questions raised by parliamentarians.

“It is his parliamentary obligation that he has to clear issues when they arise in his ministry. Refusing to answer on an issue of national importance is not only arrogance, but also demonstrates that the minister lacks awareness of what his duties are as a minister in parliament,” Kamwanyah said.

“There is a difference between blatantly refusing to answer and answering in a manner that would not jeopardise the security of the country. This minister seems to be headed towards a wrong path.”

Kamwanyah feels that Vilho's refusal to respond to the allegations was creating more questions than answers. “Refusing to clear the presence of Chinese military, he is actually creating or sustaining the rumour, or otherwise why is he refusing to answer? It is a straightforward question to either acknowledge or refute the allegation.”

Creating 'speculation'

Institute for Public Policy and Research director Graham Hopwood said Vilho's refusal to answer created speculation.

“By not answering, the minister probably wants to give the impression that defence and security issues are off limits for questions in parliament. Unfortunately, his refusal to comment tends to stir up even more speculation and rumour, which may well be false. The ministry needs a clear communication approach on such matters.”

Conspiracy theories

The PDM's Vipuakuje Muharukua also said the defence ministry's secrecy “has caused a lot of conspiracy theories”.

These secrets breed wild hypotheses, he said. The minister is accountable to parliament. Parliament is entitled to know [about] the security of our nation,” he said.

Intimidation tactic

“At present, this can only be viewed as electorate intimidation, given the closeness to the election. Maybe they are preparing an onslaught if they lose elections, or are they going to use them to vote?” Muharukua said.

Meanwhile, defence ministry spokesperson Petrus Shilumbu said the allegations had been responded to already.

In August, the ministry denied the presence of Chinese military personnel in the country.

“There are no Chinese national

Similar News


SPYL ­apologises for Iipinge's remarks

3 days ago - 21 January 2021 | Politics

STAFF REPORTERWINDHOEKSwapo Party Youth League (SPYL) secretary Ephraim Nekongo has apologised for a series of remarks by the league's secretary for education, Hofni Iipinge, who...

APP drags ECN to court

4 days ago - 20 January 2021 | Politics

Kenya Kambowe RUNDU The All Peoples Party (APP) is dragging the Electoral Commission...

Shaningwa claims ignorance over Wakudumo attack

6 days ago - 18 January 2021 | Politics

Kenya Kambowe RUNDU While Swapo has over the years acknowledged the support by the Chinese during the liberation struggle, the ruling...

Shaningwa claims ignorance over Wakudumo attack

6 days ago - 18 January 2021 | Politics

Kenya Kambowe RUNDU While Swapo has over the years acknowledged the support by the Chinese during the liberation struggle, the ruling...

Wakudumo ‘witch-hunt’ tribal and political - marchers

1 week ago - 14 January 2021 | Politics

KENYA KAMBOWE RUNDU Some Swapo Party Women’s Council (SPWC) members in the Kavango East Region argue that the recent attacks and calls...

Swapo won't boot Shangala, Esau from CC

1 week ago - 11 January 2021 | Politics

KENYA KAMBOWERUNDUSwapo will not remove Bernard Esau and Sacky Shanghala from its Central Committee, and Politburo in the case of the latter, unless they are...

Lukato promises free plots

2 weeks ago - 08 January 2021 | Politics

KENYA KAMBOWERUNDUNational Democratic Party (NDP) president Lukato Lukato says his party will hand out free plots to poor and unemployed residents of Katima Mulilo.According to...

Ndumbu expelled over missing NEFF cattle money

2 weeks ago - 07 January 2021 | Politics

KENYA KAMBOWERUNDUOne of the reasons why senior NEFF leader Abraham Ndumbu was expelled from the party two days before Christmas is because he allegedly failed...

Schlettwein lists Swapo’s comeback medicine

1 month - 17 December 2020 | Politics

STAFF REPORTER WINDHOEKSwapo will regain the people’s trust when its leaders stop ‘cutting corners’ and become more honest and...

Swapo reacts to losing the south

1 month - 17 December 2020 | Politics

ELIZABETH JOSEPH KEETMANSHOOPSwapo’s acting //Karas regional coordinator Jims Christiaan says it is difficult to single out reasons for the party losing...

Latest News

Heineken South Africa to cut...

2 days ago - 22 January 2021 | Business

The South African arm of Heineken will cut 70 jobs and put new investments on hold in the country due to the significant impact of...

The true test of leadership:...

2 days ago - 22 January 2021 | Columns

Anthony Mitchell Leadership is challenging at the best of times, but how you lead during an environment of complexity and ambiguity is the real test...

Capturing moments through the lens

2 days ago - 22 January 2021 | People

Monique AdamsBorn in Oshakati, David Shipinge Josef grew up in many different parts of Namibia. With both his parents having worked for Namibia Wildlife Resorts...

President parks Namdia report

2 days ago - 22 January 2021 | Business

OGONE TLHAGE AND MATHIAS HAUFIKUState House this week floundered on questions why President Hage Geingob has not acted on a damning report dragging two former...

Namibia presses ahead with sale...

2 days ago - 22 January 2021 | Environment

ELLANIE SMITWINDHOEKWith only a week left until the bidding process closes for the sale of 170 of Namibia’s elephants, opposition is mounting, with thousands that...

African consumers could face rice...

2 days ago - 22 January 2021 | Business

NAVEEN THUKRAL, RAJENDRA JADHAV AND AYENAT MERSIETightening global supplies of basic foodstuffs and disruptions to shipping caused by the coronavirus pandemic are driving up the...

Determined and eager to learn...

2 days ago - 22 January 2021 | People

Monique AdamsBesides spending time with her son and family, she loves dancing, travelling, appreciates being home and trying out new recipes.Born in a village called...

The need to provide clients...

2 days ago - 22 January 2021 | Business

Monique AdamsEstablished in April 2020 and operating in Windhoek, the cleaning company specialises in commercial and residential cleaning. They use cleaning products that are environmentally...

Curtail overarching powers of public...

2 days ago - 22 January 2021 | Opinion

Namibia must, as a matter of principle, discard all laws that give overarching powers to public officials to do as they wish with our strategic...

Load More