WINDHOEK, 01 NOV – President Hage Geingob on Thursday told former President of the German Parliament and Chairman of the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS) Foundation, Norbert Lammert that he should not underestimate the intellect of the Namibian government.
He made the statement at State House after Lammert informed Geingob about two concerns he has pertaining to Namibia’s development.
His concerns relate to an increase of Chinese influence in Namibia and an increase in corruption.
“Some even assuming that there might be a connection between the two developments [Chinese influence and corruption increase],” Lammert told Geingob during a tête-à-tête.
Geingob told Lammert that the concern other countries have about Chinese influence in Namibia is “annoying”.
“It assumes Africans are children still. They are not matured; they cannot deal with the world powers; they will be ill-treated and fooled as small kids. That’s what it implies,” Geingob said.
He added that Europeans are perhaps of the impression that they can deal with the Chinese because they (Europeans) are matured and since Africans are poor, they will just be bribed.
The Head of State made it clear that Chinese nationals are in Namibia to invest, making reference to the Husab Uranium mine, and not to trade on a small scale with Namibians.
“If Chinese come and break our laws, we will deal with them. So, the same way Germans and others are welcome, the Chinese are also welcome to Namibia, but please don’t underestimate our intelligence,” he stated.
After a follow-up point of discussion by Lammert about the increase of the Chinese population in Namibia, and how the number of Chinese living in Namibia is four times that of Germans in Namibia, Geingob queried why the issue should be of Germany’s concern.
“We allow Germans to come to Namibia without visas. Red carpet [treatment] while our people, including diplomatic passport holders, are being harassed in Germany. Chinese don’t treat us like that. We know how to handle our own country so don’t feel sorry for us,” he said.
The Namibian leader also told Lammert that instead of bickering over Chinese influence in Namibia, Germany should rather solve the genocide issue.
“Chinese didn’t commit genocide here so far. We are not going to allow them, because we are independent,” he stressed.
Lammert, who served as the president of the German Bundestag between 2005 and 2017, is in the country to celebrate KAS’s 30th year of existence in Namibia and Angola.