WINDHOEK – Speaker of the National Assembly Professor Peter Katjavivi has rebutted allegations by the Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) president McHenry Venaani that he cut him short during his contribution to the budget
debate in parliament earlier last month. Venaani earlier last month while contributing to the debate on the N$60.1 billion national budget described the manner in which opposition party members are allocated time by presiding officers as “nonsense”.
“I have read about the recent outburst of Venaani, when he accused me and my fellow presiding officer in the National Assembly, the Deputy Speaker, of cutting him short and not allowing him sufficient time to make his contribution to the debate on the budget,” Katjavivi said in a brief media statement. According to him Venaani fails to acknowledge
that the general debate on the budget is governed by time-keeping arrangements of the National Assembly, which have been the same since independence.
Katjavivi says under these arrangements total time allocated to political parties represented in the Assembly is distributed according to the number of their MPs. Thus, he said, parties with more MPs get more time and parties with fewer MPs have less time. “This is customary practice every year in the National Assembly, which Hon. Venaani should surely know by now,” he said, adding that when each MP’s time is up, it is up, and the MP concerned is required to comply with
the arrangements and with any ruling by the presiding officer instructing him or her to do so.
He said on that specific date he was the presiding officer and Venaani’s is now accusing him of stopping him from speaking. “His contribution that day went on a short while longer than his time allocation. However, I allowed him to finish and he didn’t argue with me that day,” he said. “He has since decided to attack me while I am out of the country on an official mission as head of our parliamentary delegation to the Inter-Parliamentary Union Assembly meeting,”
he added. He said Venaani accuses him of relying on his memory to judge the time taken up by him, and he is demanding that a stopwatch be used.
However, he said Venaani should know by now that the Table Office and the clerks are the timekeepers. “They draw the attention of the presiding officer to the time remaining for each MP speaking, and when that expires. This, too
is customary practice established since independence,” he said. “Hon. Venaani’s complaints are therefore
misplaced and unfounded,” he concluded.
2019-05-03 12:16:16 16 days ago