• June 5th, 2020

Opposition expected to be more effective

WINDHOEK- With the recent Presidential and National Assembly elections that brought diversity in terms of age and a lot of youth making the cut to parliament, political analysts feel the time has come for the opposition to “walk the talk.” 

Opposition parties such as the Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) and the Landless People’s Movement (LPM) before the national elections have been vocal on fighting corruption once elected, as well as address the land question.

LPM leader Bernadus Swartbooi earlier said once elected in power, they will root out corruption and stop the ongoing acts of personal enrichment, which he indicated, is one of the reasons the country finds itself in financial doldrums.

PDM tripled its cut and obtained 16 seats from the five it previously had, while new political outfit - LPM - obtained four seats in their maiden parliamentary election.  Swapo lost a massive 14 seats in last week’s National Assembly election, to fall just short of two-thirds majority after it obtained 63 parliamentary seats. 

Research associate at the Institute for Public Policy Research, Frederico Links said he expects the opposition, especially LPM that has been vocal of contentious issues to “walk the talk now” in terms of parliamentarian accountability, proactivity and oversight on corruption.

He noted parliament itself is not working for Namibians as it should, hence he is hopeful the opposition will change the status quo and encourage a more assertive parliament and push back against the “culture of rubberstamping that has characterised the ruling party benches”.

Links added he also expects parliamentary debates to be livelier and more informative, adding issues that affect the ordinary Namibians should feature more.

For the first time ever, MPs as young as 23 years old will be part of the new legislature.  This includes 23-year-old Utaara Mootu, who is also the LPM national chairperson, Ina Hengari and Maximilian Katjimune both PDM nominees. 

The 31-year-old Winnie Moongo, daughter of the late then DTA leader, Phillemon Moongo, has also made the grade.

Political analyst Ndumba Kamwanyah said the just-ended elections brought a lot of diversity in terms of age wise- a lot of young people being part of party lists, saying the political parties themselves have also increased.

Two parties will also be represented for the first time in parliament, while the Workers Revolutionary Party (WRP) will not be returning this time around. 

The Namibian Economic Freedom Fighters (NEFF) secured two seats after getting 13 580 votes, while the Christian Democratic Voice Party (CDVP) will also make their parliamentary debut having obtained one seat. 

Kamwanyah viewed the reduced majority of the ruling Swapo party will not make unilateral decisions when it comes to changing the constitution willy-nilly. 

“So, I think that diversity provides an opportunity for robust debate in parliament but also different perspective views on critical issues affecting the country. My expectation really given the diversity and age of parliamentarians involved, especially the young ones will be to bring in energy. People have been complaining about MPs sleeping in parliament. So, I wish the new list will bring a sense of energy to debate issues critically and thoroughly that connects what Namibians want,” Kamwanyah noted.
He is hopeful new MPs will do research on real issues to debate and not just make unsubstantiated statements.

“We would like to see a parliament discuss issues that has been researched and there is evidence to support it. That is really what I am hoping to see, if I can compare it with the current or past parliament,” he said. 

Political analyst Immanuel Wise said beyond 21st March 2020, parliament should not only be new in form, but must also be new in terms of substance. 

He noted the personalities that would wear the “MPs’ jackets” need to be reminded that Article 45 of the Namibian Constitution constrain them to be representatives of all people, performing their parliamentary responsibilities in a manner consistent with the constitutional objectives and above all, in the public interest. 

Wise added the new MPs should come on board with new approaches and attitudes so that they are able to make meaningful contributions to parliamentary debates. 

“With the public confidence having almost been eroded in pursuit of ethical certainty, the first mission critical for the new parliament would be to reflect on Article 47(1)(a) of the Namibian Constitution (allowing persons convicted to remain MPs provided they were fined) and ascertain whether an amendment is required, not only for the restoration of public courage but also for the perpetual maintenance of parliamentary integrity and by extension, to enable the entrenchment of an ethical tone at political parties’ levels,” he said.


Albertina Nakale
2019-12-04 07:42:33 | 6 months ago

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