Defence minister Peter Hafeni Vilho has refused to shed light on claims that China has sent more than 3500 military personnel to Namibia saying their presence in Namibia was confidential.
This he said responding to questions by Landless People’s Movement member Henny Seibeb in parliament early last week who claims there were more than 3 500 Chinese soldiers at Swakopmund, Walvis Bay and Henties Bay.
Seibeb wanted to establish the truth on the presence of Chinese troops in the country, their mission and the period they will stay in Namibia.
The LPM member further asked whether Namibia and China had any military agreement and whether such an agreement known to the National Assembly.
In response, defence minister said the fact that the National Assembly has not dealt with any matter regarding Namibia-China military cooperation agreement was proof that the matter was not worth debating in parliament.
“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.
The proceedings in the National Assembly were, however, disrupted after Seibeb and his fellow LPM member Bernadus Swartbooi started insulting Vilho saying the minister was “dom” and was not behaving as a human being”.
“That guy is ‘dom’. That guy is not showing discipline… , do you think I am afraid of you. Die minister is dom man,” Seibeb said.
In trying to calm the situation Popular Democratic Movement parliamentarian Vipuakuje Muharukua suggested that in the future questions regarding defence matters and companies owned by the Namibia Defence Force (NDF) be dealt with by a standing committee for the purpose of accountability.
“Such standing rules must also involve the committee on foreign affairs to interrogate that question, because the ministry of defence is a good thing for us but it can also be a dangerous thing for us. But if we continue to have a ministry of defence that is unaccountable to anyone but the president, we will have a problem in the country,” he said.
This will address the perception that the defence ministry was only accountable to the president as perceived by various politicians who have served in that portfolio, Muharukua said.
“The minister of defence is dealing with a very sensitive ministry that has to safeguard our security both from internal factors and external factors. It has become a culture and practice in this house that no question can be posted to that ministry without being met with a similar answer. No person in this country supersedes the state. Not even the president,” he added.
Liberty Pazvakawambwa SADC News