Of late the National Assembly has been tarnished by the conduct of some opposition parliamentarians. The use of offensive and unbecoming language has become the order of the day. Our democracy allows for sound debate to robustly discuss issues of the day affecting the electorate – the very reason they elected some people to represent them in parliament.
There are diverse issues that affect ordinary voters, among them the lack of hostel space among rural learners, the lack of proper tarred roads in rural areas, the repulsive issue of widows being evicted from their marital homes when their husbands are no more, the foul issue of colonial-era bucket toilets, high unemployment among the youths, some of them with university degrees, to mention but a few among a myriad of issues prevalent in our midst.
Personal attacks orchestrated by parliamentarian and leader of the opposition Landless People’s Movement (LPM) Bernadus Swartbooi on the person of former President Sam Nujoma are very unfortunate. Belittling Sam Nujoma will not create jobs for tens of thousands of jobless Namibian youth. Name-calling Sam Nujoma will not grow the economy.
Namibia has many burning issues that should be debated by MPs in a civilised manner. There is no need to insult former President Sam Nujoma who selflessly played a key role in the liberation of Namibia from apartheid South African colonial forces.
Nujoma is a revered revolutionary who after independence promoted the policy of national reconciliation, this despite the countless atrocities committed by the likes of the late General Hans Dreyer and his army of Koevoet who maimed and butchered defenceless Namibian civilians.
If Swartbooi has an axe to grind against the Nujoma family he should not be allowed to turn the sanctified chambers of the National Assembly into a battlefield against the Nujoma family. The august House of Parliament should be the mirror of highest Namibian civility, decorum and etiquette – thus it is essential for all Members of Parliament (MPs) to observe certain standards of conduct both inside the House and even outside it.
LPM MPs should table motions that are in the interest of the electorate and should desist from personal battles that are not in the interest of the electorate. The hallowed chambers of the National Assembly allow for the contestation of conflicting political ideas. LPM will not gain any political capital by hurling insults at Sam Nujoma as this could even boomerang with its supporters.
This unbecoming parliamentary conduct deserves condemnation. It does not bolster national unity but only divides the nation. It could also negatively influence the youth watching this circus.