The National Assembly has hit back at criticism levelled against it by former prime minister Nahas Angula, who, in an opinion piece, published by a local daily, claimed presiding officers of the August House are incapable of exerting sovereign over the business inside the chamber.
Angula had also claimed the National Assembly has failed to establish its parliamentary standing committees and the committee on privileges. However, the National Assembly yesterday reacted by stating the opinion by Angula contained some misinformation that could mislead the public understanding the operations of the National Assembly.
Spokesperson of the National Assembly David Nahongandja said despite the disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the seventh parliament managed to constitute its eight parliamentary standing committees already by 8 July 2020.
These committees, he said, are wholly constituted and fully functioning with a daily meeting scheduled as per the provisions of the assembly’s Standing Rules and Orders.
“The committee of privileges was formed and announced as recorded by the Assembly minutes of proceedings of 18 March 2021. Of course, the process to establish this committee took some time as one needed to get the support of the parties represented in the National Assembly. Like Citizen Angula correctly said, ‘some say politics is about give and take’,” he explained.
Furthermore, Nahongandja rubbished said Angula insinuations that Speaker of the National Assembly Professor Peter Katjavivi was incapable of exerting sovereign over the business of the house, saying that such comment was outrageous, especially when it comes from one of the longest-serving MP.
“Citizen Angula knows very well that presiding officers of the house in executing their authority over the chamber draw their power from the provisions of the Namibia constitution, the assembly’s Standing Rules and Orders and the Code of Conducts for Members of the National Assembly,” he said.
He said the current presiding officers of the National Assembly are highly capable and well-experienced parliamentarians who demonstrated effective leadership over the house in the last ten years.
“It is, thus, absolutely misleading to imply that the National Assembly Presiding Officers are not capable of directing the affairs of the August House,” Nahongandja said.
The parliamentary standing committees and the committee on privileges consist of Swapo MPs Agnes Kafula, Phillipus Katamelo and Sebastian Karupu, leader of the official opposition the Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) and MP McHenry Venaani, Leader of the Landless People Movement (LPM) and MP Bernadus Swartbooi.