WINDHOEK – There were moments of high drama in the National Assembly after a Swapo MP did not take kindly to opposition critique of the New Basic Education Bill, with a Swapo MP calling her rival a ‘Koevoet.’
Chaos erupted in the House nearly derailing the session after Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) MP Nico Smit described the new education bill as “autocratic, so undemocratic and so draconian”.
This did not go down well with education minister Katrina Hanse-Himarwa who in a nasty tit-for-tat labelled Smit as autocratic and a “Honourable Koevoet” who operated in the area of the Hardap Region during the apartheid era.
“What has the autocratism to do with the bill of education – the purpose of the bill is for them to make inputs to enhance the bill but not come and label me as an autocrat, he must withdraw, I am not an autocrat,” said the visibly agitated Hanse-Himarwa.
Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly Loide Kasingo intervened asking both members to withdraw their unparliamentary statements.
“I would like if you stated that she is autocratic to withdraw and for her to withdraw the word Koevoet,” Kasingo said.
In defence of Smith, PDM MP Vipua Muharukua stood up to say that there was nothing wrong with Smith using the word autocratic since it was a political statement.
“Honourable Smith made a political statement that the bill is autocratic, in fact he said the bill is autocratic, draconian and undemocratic, the bill, now he must withdraw that word against who?” he said.
“So for there to be a call to say he must withdraw because of that no … no. And lastly, Mr Nico Smith was part of Koevoet, yes, there are Koevoet that are sitting on the other side, let them all be called out,” said Muharukua in reference to Swapo MPs who are believed to have collaborated and served with apartheid forces. “Some members on the other side of the House [meaning the Swapo side] must be careful, I know who they were, I know,” warned Smith causing a noisy stir in parliament.
Smith said he is open, he can give the names, and he can even give reports and also receipts of how much some members seated on Swapo benches were paid as Koevoet members.
“Yes we have receipts numbers – they were on the payroll,” shouted one opposition member.
“Please keep quiet, please keep quiet,” shouted Kasingo, adding that she will kick one of the unruly MPs out of the House.
Swapo MP Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila intervened and reminded MPs that they are in parliament in order to discharge a national duty and in order for them to do that MPs should act in a manner that promotes consensus.
“We are not here for the sake of being here we are here to serve the Namibian people,” Kuugongelwa-Amadhila. Smith continued with his speech saying he did not attack anyone personally but the bill.
Hanse-Himarwa later interrupted: “I want to remind him … I want to remind Honourable Koevoet member that his artificial concern he is showing today in terms of the bill is rectification and justification and correction and affirmation of the skewed Bantu education he and his system has created,” she said.
The parliamentary chaos lasted for over an hour.
2018-10-11 09:06:10 7 months ago