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Nekundi’s jibe leaves parliament empty

2022-11-11  Maihapa Ndjavera

Nekundi’s jibe leaves parliament empty

Maihapa Ndjavera

Members of opposition parties walked out of the National Assembly on Wednesday and Thursday after the deputy minister of transport Veikko Nekundi called them “hypocrites”. “I understand that opposition, by nature, are hypocrites and opportunists. When we talk of the past and how it relates to today’s sufferings, they will jump without minding hitting their heads against the roof, but when it’s genocide, historical facts are now important,” said Nekundi on Wednesday.

The house was already sparsely populated, as many members of Swapo have been in the regions campaigning in the run-up to the party’s elective congress at the end of November. Nekundi was making his contribution to the mid-term budget review that was tabled two weeks ago.

He was also reacting to the opposition generally criticising the mid-term budget as ineffective, without direction and complaining about not being consulted. They also expressed concern about the level and cost of debt. The deputy minister said he was cognisant of the huge deficit and appreciates the challenges it poses on the future ability to borrow cheaply.  Nekundi said the opposition are using the current budget debate as an opportunity to attack the ruling party and government.

He noted the amendment bill is the true instrument of the socio-economic lifeline of the people. He pointed out that since independence, the government budget has been people-centred. “Our budget has always been pro-poor, pro-youth and holistically addressing multiple challenges facing our people, albeit with fiscal limitations,” he said.

Nekundi further noted opposition attacks are unwarranted and strive to hide their historical budget sins, which they, through the budgetary allocations, pushed the black majority Namibians into abject poverty and deprivation from basic public necessities.

Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) parliamentarian Maximalliant Katjimune said the comments were totally unacceptable and unparliamentary, and it was unfortunate the Speaker did not ask him to withdraw immediately.

“His whole speech was based around serious ad hominem (to the person) attacks against PDM and the opposition, and it had nothing to do with the mid-term budget. We cannot allow Nekundi to refer to the opposition as hypocrites and say the PDM caused a ‘genocide’,” he added.

Opposition MPs again staged a walkout yesterday, while accusing the presiding officer of bias. Speaking on their behalf, National Unity Democratic Organisation’s Joseph Kauandenge said the Speaker failed to call Nekundi to order, and they feel he is not being fair.

After the opposition left the house yesterday, only 20 members were left, leaving Katjavivi no choice but to adjourn. “We are still disturbed by the actions of the Speaker, who showed biasness towards the opposition,” added Kauandenge. Katjavivi said what transpired on Wednesday occurred as a result of constant points of order.

“I felt given the constant interferences, we will not be able to make progress on contributions; thus, I did not allow a point of corrections,” he said. Katjavivi yesterday added he is going to address the offending expressions.

“I need time to look into that. And I am not going to leave it out. I was going to do that next Tuesday. For now, I thought we can make progress and continue to address the items on the agenda,” he said.

2022-11-11  Maihapa Ndjavera

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