President Hage Geingob has appealed to Namibian men to become exemplary husbands, fathers and protectors of their families as women and children are no longer safe in society.
The Head of State reminded men that women are no longer viewed as second-class citizens who are expected to be obedient and subservient to their husbands.
“Let us just accept that times have changed, and that men and women are now viewed as equal partners. It is also a sad
reality that while men are drinking in bars, women are progressing socially, academically and economically,” he said during the virtual official opening of the Fifth Session of the Seventh Parliament yesterday.
“When one attends graduation ceremonies, one sees more girls than boys. When one attends church, as I do, one sees more girls than boys. This trend is starting to show in the corporate world, where women are starting to occupy higher positions. Some may even be higher earners than their husbands. This can frustrate a male chauvinist, who may display ‘frustration-aggression’ such as beatings and even killings.”
Geingob said the Combating of Domestic Violence Amendment Bill will stamp out the high number of cases of gender-based violence, which Namibian society has been crying out against for over 30 years. “We hope that this will tighten the loopholes and enable easier reporting, investigation and punishment of gender-based violence cases. This bill should serve as a serious reminder to offenders and would-be offenders that gender-based violence is a taboo in the Republic of Namibia, punishable through heavy prison sentences,” he stated.
Another bill the president wants to be passed in parliament this year, to protect women and children, is the Combating of Rape Amendment Bill, which he says will greatly assist in combating, curbing and eliminating the incidences of rape to safeguard the innocent women and children from this evil committed by criminally-minded citizens.
“The incidences of rape must not only be severely reduced, but must be eradicated from Namibian society because this vile crime is a scourge which demeans and violates the dignity of our people. Hence, perpetrators should receive the heaviest punishment under our laws to deter them from committing this evil,” he stressed.
Most members of parliament New Era spoke to yesterday highlighted that they want parliamentarians to engage in debates that are productive to pass bills in the interest of the nation. Home affairs’ minister Albert Kawana said one of last year’s parliamentary sessions was turned into the “Salute Boxing Academy” that made some female MPs feel unsafe as some male members of parliament were conducting themselves aggressively. A scuffle between Landless People’s Movement MP Henny Seibeb and President Geingob’s security personnel brought last year’s State of the Nation Address to a halt. Seibeb and fellow party member Bernadus Swartbooi were later suspended for their raucous behaviour.
Several other incidents also raised eyebrows during the year. “We need to conduct ourselves productively to attend to national issues, such as the pandemic, as we lost a lot of lives last year,” Kawana observed.
He said his focus for the year will be on the Procurement Amendment Bill as it provides for projects exclusively for youth and women.
Deputy minister of information Emma Theofelus wants parliamentary sessions to be productive and pass important laws which will protect the citizens of Namibia.
She will focus on the long-awaited Access to Information Bill to be passed this year.
Information minister Peya Mushelenga, who resubmitted that bill in the NA last year after its previous submission expired, said the draft law seeks to address transparency in the government. The bill aims to promote the public’s free access to information held by public entities, and to compel public and private entities to proactively and promptly make information available. Late last year, the ministry held nationwide public consultations on the proposed bill. Justice minister Yvonne Dausab also pleaded with fellow parliamentarians to debate in a respectful manner, and avoid discussions that will devalue issues. “We will focus more on the bills that are listed, such as the Magistrates Court Amendment Bill, Divorce Bill, Torture Bill and Obsolete Laws Bill, and to ensure that we engage the public to contribute to the bills,” she said.
The leader of the official opposition, McHenry Venaani, said he was disappointed by the president for failing to address parliament in person. He said the party will push for the Banking Institutions Amendment Bill.
Namibian Economic Freedom Fighters’ MP Kalimbo Iipumbu said their party will focus on the tabling of the Black Business Empowerment Amendment Bill to protect the businesses owned by black people, particularly Namibians.