EMBERS of parliament (MPs) agree that the National Assembly (NA) has been lacking in one of its core duties, which is to pass laws to improve Namibians’ lives.
NA gatherings were delayed for the better part of last year, and as a result failed to attend to many issues on its agenda.
This year, 16 bills are set to be tabled in parliament, including the combating of rape amendment bill, the combating of domestic violence amendment bill, the divorce bill, the child justice bill, and the public procurement amendment bill.
Joseph Kauandenge, MP of the National Unity Democratic Organisation, on Monday said the parliament has been in a self-induced coma for the past two years.
“By self-induced coma, I mean other parliaments around the world went virtual, but the Namibian parliament were on extended holidays and getting paid for services we were not rendering to the Namibian people,” he said.
Kauandenge said the parliament should be more productive in terms of passing bills that are long overdue.
“The parliament hasn’t been doing anything in the last two years,” he said.
The Nudo MP said he was hoping for people-centred bills and motions.
Similarly, minister of justice Yvonne Dausab yesterday told The Namibian she hopes parliamentarians would this year live up to the letter and spirit of Article 45 of the Constitution as representatives of Namibians.
“It requires us to debate issues in a respectful but candid fashion that reflects the objects of the Constitution, which are our aspirations for life, human dignity, liberty, justice, and the pursuit of happiness,” she said.
She said more laws in an effort to enhance social justice should be enforced.
Vipuakuje Muharukua, Popular Democratic Movement MP, yesterday said he wants to see less theatrics in the parliament.
“I am sure members will tackle the people’s issues. That would take research and public consultations – a lot of that,” he said.
Muharukua said the past two years have been hard for members, with Covid-19 having frustrated all forms of normalcy in parliamentary proceedings.
“So, we have a lot to catch up on. Landlessness is still a crisis. Our education system is in disarray, and the truth about our health system has been laid bare by Covid.
“Our police officers below the rank of captain are still crying because of salaries that are meaningless, so too our army officers. Our young people are still living in poverty when we have so much virgin land that needs young energy to produce optimally,” he said.
Muharukua said parts of Namibia have been hit with drought since 2013, and the government must have permanent solutions for regions such as Kunene and parts of the Erongo, among others.
“The redline was given lip service by the land conference, and now there will be intensified discussions on that for lasting and economically viable solutions,” he said.
Landless People’s Movement (LPM) leader Bernadus Swartbooi on Thursday at a media briefing in Windhoek labelled Namibia’s parliament as ineffective, and called on president Hage Geingob to reflect on NA speaker Peter Katjavivi’s capabilities.
He said the NA “cannot just be for empty talk and passing the annual budget, and then it goes into limbo to suit the pace of the octogenarians”.
He said the LPM was not pleased with the little progress made by the legislature with the passing of critical bills.
“Without making laws, the parliament is irrelevant, and not leading society,” he said.
Original story on Namibian