WINDHOEK – President Hage Geingob yesterday expressed hope that parliament would this year not face the challenge of lack of quorum, as he reiterated his call for politicians to account to the electorate.
The President made the call during his official opening of the 9th session of the 6th parliament yesterday.
There have been many occasions when parliament proceedings could not take place because of truant MPs who fail to show up.
But in a year declared as one of accountability, Geingob said MPs must deliver on their law-making promises and help lift the country rid itself of challenges that partly exist because of lack of laws or the presence of archaic ones.
“As the representatives of the people, we should always be mindful of the fact that the most valuable asset that we possess is our reputations. Once one’s reputation is damaged, one’s effectiveness becomes impeded,” he said.
Geingob said the sign of a fully functioning democracy is the existence of robust and well-founded processes, systems and institutions.
“If parliamentary institutions are mistrusted and perceived to be corrupt, it places a serious challenge to our democracy and subsequently our ability as government to deliver on our promises to the electorate,” he said.
Geingob told all parliamentarians to behave according to a strict code of conduct and that their attitude and work should be aimed at reflecting the will of the electorate and not their individual will.
“I am aware that legislators encounter situations every day that place them at the crux of ethical dilemmas and it is due to this reason that members of parliament should possess irrefutable professionalism,” he said.
The President also called on members of parliament to ensure that all unjust laws of the past regimes are replaced with just laws, saying that Namibians can no longer continue to be subjected to outdated discriminatory laws.
In total, 14 bills are lined up for tabling during this year’s session.
“As the supreme lawmaker, parliament should introduce laws to help us combat social ills that are hampering socio-economic progress in our country,” he told lawmakers.
Geingob further reminded lawmakers that parliament, as the primary symbol of the country’s democracy, is an essential element in the country’s efforts to combat corruption and to promote integrity.
He said oversight over the executive structures of government gives parliament the scope and power to introduce measures and laws which will ensure that integrity is the norm, rather than the exception when it comes to the business of government.
“As a government, we have set ourselves high targets that we aim to achieve, in our concerted drive towards a more prosperous Namibia. In addition, we have also declared war on social ills such as poverty and corruption,” he said.
According to Geingob none of the goals are achievable in the absence of effective governance, hence the first pillar of the country’s Harambee Prosperity Plan advocates for the increase of accountability and transparency.
“Integrity, accountability and professionalism are the foundations of effective governance,” Geingob said.
“It is crucial that we improve the trust that people have in government and that should begin here, in parliament, where the representatives of the electorate endeavor to fulfill the important function of keeping our democratic institutional systems accountable and transparent,” he concluded.
2019-02-14 10:01:41 6 days ago