Landless People’s Movement leaders Bernadus Swartbooi and Henny Seibeb are challenging a High Court decision that dismissed a case in which they were suing the speaker of the National Assembly Peter Katjavivi for kicking them out of the chamber.
A fortnight ago, the Windhoek High Court dismissed, with cost, a case in which the two parliamentarians were challenging the decision by Katjavivi to kick them out of parliament.
Acting judge Kobus Miller ruled that the High Court would be overreaching in legislative matters if it grants the declaratory relief sought by the two MPs, which could competently be handled by the National Assembly’s privileges committee.
The two were of the opinion that Katjavivi’s action to suspend them indefinitely from attending parliament sessions, due to their involvement in an incident which took place last month during the State of the Nation address (SONA) by President Hage Geingob, was unprocedural.
In court documents filed by their lawyers Dr Weder, Kauta and Hoveka in the Supreme Court last Wednesday, the two MPs want the appeal to be upheld with costs and that the decision of the High Court be declared unlawful, null and void.
They are further asking the Supreme Court to interdict and restrain Katjavivi from pursuing his “unlawful decision”, in any way or form, including through other person, interfering with their rights to attend sessions of the National Assembly or to make contributions during debates of the National Assembly, or to access the LPM office at the parliament precinct.
They further want Katjavivi to pay the costs of the Supreme Court application, including costs of one instructed and one instructing counsel.
According to the court documents, “Article 5 of the constitution protects fundamental rights and freedoms, by commanding the executive, legislative and judiciary to respect and uphold fundamental rights and freedom enshrined in Chapter 3 of the constitution.”
The two MPs in the court document further argue that Article 17 of the constitution guarantees political activity and provide that all citizens shall have the right to participate in peaceful political activity intended to influence the composition and policies of government.
Appeal… LPM MPs have appealed their National Assembly suspension in the Supreme Court.
Photo: Emmency Nuukala