Xie situation is food for thought

06 January 2021 | Opinion

The situation of Chinese-born businessman Charlie Min Xie, who has been a Namibian citizen for 15 years but was removed as exclusive advisor to the governor of Kavango East on the basis of his ethnicity, is worth munching on.

Once admitted, naturalised citizens are equal to birth-right citizens and should be indistinguishable from them, able to participate in the democratic life of the state on the same terms.

Therefore, unless this equality in law is amended, Namibians have the obligation to respect other citizens and opportunities accorded to them, including Xie.

Governor Wakudumo has been scorned for his decision, but he did nothing wrong in law – and perhaps in principle.

The argument that Kavango residents should have taken precedence when appointing advisors has no basis in law because any Namibian could be deployed in that capacity, provided they have what it takes. This includes Xie.

We must never forget that there are native Namibians who have become naturalised citizens in other countries and are enjoying privileges that every citizen of that nation is accorded.

If our kith and kin overseas are treated like Xie, being denied opportunities duly afforded to legal citizens, we would be the first to shout discrimination. We must either accord naturalised citizens the opportunity enjoyed by every Namibian citizen or amend the law to sugar-coat our dislike for the non-natives.

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