Discarded Xie speaks out

The businessman, who says he was offering his services for a symbolic N$1 per year, insists he is a Namibian citizen like any other and must not be discriminated against on the basis of his skin colour.

06 January 2021 | People

KENYA KAMBOWE

RUNDU

Chinese-born businessman Charlie Min Xie, a Namibian citizen for the past 15 years, says his removal as exclusive advisor to Kavango East governor Bonifatius Wakudumo was unfair and racist.

Wakudumo in December appointed Xie as one of his 20 advisors to guide him on developmental issues in the Kavango East Region.

The appointment sparked a public outcry and an emotionally charged protest at Rundu on 28 December, after which Wakudumo rescinded his decision.

Xie, who owns Kingsway Group Holdings which trades in the financial and property markets, was supposed to be part of the group that would advise Wakudumo until March 2024.

N$1 consultancy fee

Xie said he would be paid only N$1 per year for his services as advisor to Wakudumo.

“Had the people who leaked that document [of his appointment] shared the entire document, the public would have seen my roles and responsibilities and that I was offering my services free of charge. I would only be paid N$1 per annum. I wonder why they only shared the first and last page,” XIe said.

‘I am a citizen’

In an exclusive interview with Namibian Sun yesterday, Xie described the hostile manner in which he was removed as advisor to Wakudumo as ‘unfair’ and ‘disappointing’.

He moved to Namibia in 1995 after failing to sort out his immigration issues in South Africa where he had first migrated to from China.

He added that he has lived in Namibia since then and was granted Namibian citizenship in 2006. His 24-year-old son was born in Namibia, he added.

He insists that he is a Namibian and should not be viewed as Chinese.

He further questioned why there are people in Namibia who play the race card and are against assistance by foreign nationals.

“First of all, I was born in China but I’m a Namibian citizen since 2006. I came to Namibia in 1995. I got all the proof of it,” Xie said.

“I cannot say it is racial discrimination but from my side I think it’s like that. What about the Indians and the whites? We are all Namibians as we are living together so why are they targeting those that are born in China?

“There are so many people born in Europe but they are Namibians. I am very disappointed that 30 years after independence we still have not learn to work together.

“Actually I love this country; the people are so kind. So I am living here, this is my country,” Xie added.

Protest

Xie said he did not expect the public to react in that way simply because he was approached by the office of the governor and he agreed to the appointment.

“We wanted to create a model and attract investors from overseas who will assist with the development of the region. We wanted to create something like that but people just started to make up nonsense that we got some deal, corruption and that I am a Chinese or whatever but I think it was really unfair,” Xie said.

Ties to Stina Wu

Xie is a business associate of Helmsman Group, a company owned by property magnate Stina Wu.

Xie, through his company Kingsway Group Holdings, manages two of Wu’s shopping complexes.

These are Galaxy shopping mall in Rundu and Fujian City in Windhoek.

Wu is currently awaiting a government decision as to whether she may acquire over 80 hectares of land at Divundu which was offered to her at a N$20 million discount.

Some argued that with Xie’s appointment as advisor to Wakudumo, that deal would go through unhindered despite multiple objections submitted last year.

“Actually, I am just an advisor and I cannot make any decision,” Xie explained.

“Also, I am not working alone; we got 20 members on the committee, so we just wanted to use our professional experience and the background we can from Singapore and the Middle East.

“It has nothing to do with tenders. I do not have that right or power to do so but they are just mentioning a Chinese and I am very disappointed.”

Xie added that one of the advisors’ responsibilities was to look into issues such as water and housing provision and job creation.

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