Friday, October 23, 2020

Foreign affairs aware of China/Bots diplomatic tension

Members of the Public Accounts Committee have suggested that there is simmering tension between China and Botswana.

This is despite the fact that the two countries continue to dialogue on some differences that exists between them.

Members of the committee persuaded the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to admit that relations between the two had soured, mainly as a result of a failure by Chinese contractors to deliver on the multi-billion Pula capital projects that had been awarded them by Botswana Government.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has since engaged Chinese government over Botswana’s displeasure over Chinese contractors shoddy work after awarded being multimillion tenders.

Foreign Affairs Ministry, Deputy Permanent Secretary Thuso Ramodimoosi told the Public Accounts Committee meeting that  Botswana and China relationship is not sour.

Ramodimoosi was responding to Tati East MP, Guma Moyo who was of the view that there was a diplomatic tension as a result of Chinese contractor’s failure  to deliver quality work on tenders awarded to them by government.

Ramodimoosi stated that though he was not privy to details on whether there is diplomatic tension the two countries continue to dialogue on a number of issues.

Ramodimoosi stated that Botswana had set up a team to investigate projects that were not delivered as expected.   He said that they have since engaged the Chinese Ambassador in Botswana about some shoddy workmanship by some Chinese contractors.

Ramodimoosi stated that the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Pelonomi Venson Moitoi has also informed Chinese government about the same. He said the Minister had also raised the issue with the Chinese government during her visit to China last year. He said that though some members of the committee were suggesting that there is a political tension due to failure by Chinese contractors to deliver projects there are Chinese contractors that are doing well.

“We cant paint everyone with the same  brush. It will be erroneous to paint everyone with the same brush,” added Ramodimoosi.

Ramodimoosi also disputed the that political appointees were affecting the morale of employees at Botswana missions abroad. He stated that when responding to Gaborone Bonnington South MP, Ndaba Gaolathe  who asked if political appointees were not demoralizing professional staff working in embassies.

The deputy permanent secretary said the political appointees were bringing experience that was helping the country in efforts to attract investors.

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