Defence clarifies Chinese military presence in Namibia

31 August 2020 | Ministries

NAMPA

SWAKOPMUND



Defence minister Peter Vilho has assured that interactions his ministry has in any sphere with the Chinese government are within the normal course of the two countries' bilateral agreements.

Vilho was responding to Landless People's Movement (LPM) leader Bernadus Swartbooi's letter in which he queried the Chinese army's “unconstitutional” presence in Namibia.

Allegations include that the Chinese military had arrived in Namibia to defend the country, which the ministry has strongly refuted.

In his letter dated 19 August, Swartbooi questioned why the defence ministry continues to deny the presence of the Chinese army at the coast, while mentioning a plethora of so-called evidence from sources.



Artillery offloaded overnight

“Sources within the Namibian Defence Force and highly placed civilians have reported to the LPM that they have seen in excess of approximately 3 500 Chinese military personnel and imported artillery being offloaded overnight in Swakopmund, Walvis Bay and Henties Bay in the past few weeks,” Swartbooi said in his letter.

Additionally, Swartbooi queried if the presence of the Chinese military was part of joint military corporation between the two countries and whether it was constitutional, as it had not been disclosed in parliamentary processes.

Vilho said any military engagements between the two countries are no different from naval visits and other forms of engagements, as well as joint military exercises the Namibian military has with all its friends across the world, including China.

He added that President Hage Geingob, through the constitution, is empowered by article 32(3)(e) to negotiate and sign international ratification or accession in terms of article 63(2)(e).

“President Hage Geingob is committed to the rule of law as enshrined in our constitution and will subject such an agreement with far-reaching consequences for Namibia's posture as a friend to all and enemy to none, to you, as elected representatives of the Namibian people,” Vilho said.

The ministry has denied having any reason to invite foreign troops to the country, as is being continuously alleged.

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