MPs warned against complacency

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By Mathias Haufiku

WINDHOEK – President Hifikepunye Pohamba yesterday implored parliamentarians to be the voices of the people they represent and to take their concerns to the appropriate authorities for action.

He was speaking at State House when he and the First Lady, Madam Penehupifo Pohamba, hosted parliamentarians during the annual yearly reception for MPs. Pohamba requested a minute of silence in memory of the late Nudo MP, Chief Kuaima Riruako, and former Deputy Minister of Education, Buddy Wentworth, who both died last week.

Many MPs attended the event alone even though their spouses were also invited, which prompted the president to inquire on the whereabouts of their spouses.

In his formal address, Pohamba highlighted that public institutions continue to operate without disruption while the country’s judiciary is carrying out its mandate to advance the cause of justice and punish lawbreakers.

“We should be proud that we live in a peaceful and stable country, where the implementation of public policies that are aimed at improving the living conditions of our people is not disrupted by conflict or social unrest,” said Pohamba.

He however warned against complacency, and urged MPs to be acutely aware of the challenges facing the majority of Namibians.

“We should be mindful of the fact that there are still thousands of Namibians who walk long distances to access basic services such as clean drinking water, health care, education and social justice,” he said.

Pohamba reminded lawmakers it is their duty to provide solutions to challenges facing communities, such as poverty especially in rural areas and informal settlements in urban areas.

He lauded the Public Accounts Committee, which recently undertook regional visits to monitor how the development budget is being implemented by various public institutions, adding that government will not tolerate failure to implement public policies and development programmes.

“I am pleased that our Members of Parliament have taken the initiative of inspecting the state of public buildings around the country. It is important to ensure that public buildings and other assets do not fall into a state of disrepair,” said Pohamba.

“You must always be the voices of the people that you represent in the legislative chambers. The voices of the people must always be heard through you and the concerns raised by communities should be discussed and addressed at appropriate levels,” he urged.

“For the First Lady and I, this gathering has a special significance because it may be the last time we will host you here for this annual event. As you are all aware, by this time next year, Namibia will have a new head of state and government.” 

In conclusion he once again called for peaceful and transparent elections when Namibians go to the polls later this year.