Thursday, October 22, 2020

Botswana ÔÇô China relations still at boiling point

The diplomatic tussle between China and Botswana is not over yet.

From the look of things there is still some bickering happening behind the scenes.

It turns out that Chinese government is not happy with accusation levelled against them by Ministry of Health over its failure to translate Chinese language to English.

When appearing before the Public Accounts Committee, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry Of Health Shaanaz El Halabi accused the Chinese Embassy of being uncooperative.

This came after Chinese Company donated 20 Tablet Blistering Machines to Botswana and the ministry could not use them due to Chinese language on the manuals of the machines.

El Halabi accused Chinese Embassy of being uncooperative because they had refused to translate the encryption of the machines and user manuals from Chinese language to English and refused to assist them to locate the equipment manufacturer.

”The ministry has not been able to utilize the donated Tablet Blistering Machines because of insufficient technical support from original equipment manufacturer (OEM).The machines were donated in 2012 and the space they are occupying in our office is costing us money. In the past we had engaged the Chinese embassy with the hope that they would assist in translating the encryption of the machines and user manuals from Chinese to English but they opted to refuse and even failed to assist us in locating and identifying the manufacturer of the machines,” said El Halabi

She said upon investigating it was discovered that the OEM has since liquidated and as such was not able to assist the ministry with technical support of the machines and supply of pertinent spare parts and accessories needed to make the machines fully operational.

The PAC committee then advised the ministry to dispose them off or auction them. 

Chinese Embassy, Director of Political Section Tang Shenping dismisses the accusation. He said the PS is lying because they had never received any correspondence from Health.

He said maybe they have directed the communication to the wrong embassy and not the Chinese embassy. He said they are not aware of any company which has donated the Tablet Blistering Machines to Botswana government.

”Maybe the company was exercising its gesture and donated the machines without our knowledge and in that way it is difficult for us to know which company was dealing with them. As a matter of principle or protocol some Chinese companies pass their donations through Chinese embassy and in that way it is easy to locate them and not this one. This is a special case and we would try to engage them going forward,”, said Shenping

The tension between Chinese government and Botswana has recently not been good.

A recent statement by   Botswana issuing a press statement accusing China of imposing “its power over others to make claims because of “its economy or military” in the South China sea rubbed Beijing the wrong way.

Beijing recently registered its complaint at the way Botswana Government publicly communicated its displeasure through a press statement instead of following diplomatic channels.

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