Opposition parties in the National Assembly have threatened court action against Swapo over the composition of parliamentary committees after parliamentarians failed to agree on the nomination of members.
The opposition yesterday accused Swapo of trying to influence the composition of the parliamentary committees.
As parties with the majority of backbenchers, the opposition want to have an upper hand in terms of the nomination of new members to serve on the parliamentary committees that primarily serve as oversight bodies. Vowing to spare no effort to stop the ruling party from having its way, leader of the opposition parties in the National Assembly, Popular Democratic Movement president McHenry Venaani claims the country’s parliamentary democracy was “captured” by Swapo.
“We have reached a stalemate in terms of forming committees; we have the majority in forming committees but Swapo, as they have done in the past, want to bulldoze the process. Swapo is still living in the past,” he told journalists.
“What we can tell the nation today is that we have approached lawyers and we might end up in the High Court to resolve the matter.” Rally for Democracy and Progress president Mike Kavekotora said the rules of the august house are being “raped” by Swapo to advance their dominance even though the opposition parties hold the majority when it comes to backbenchers.
“What we are saying is that the standing committee on standing rules and orders was not properly constituted and the rules are being raped by Swapo to advance their dominance even though the opposition parties hold the majority in backbenchers,” he said.
According to the internal arrangements of the National Assembly, at the beginning of each parliament, the assembly shall appoint a standing committee that shall consist of no fewer than eight members, provided all parties in the assembly are represented.
The National Assembly currently has eight standing committees. They are the committee of public accounts, constitutional and legal affairs, foreign affairs, defence and security, economics and public administration, natural resources, human resources and community development, gender equality, social development and family affairs, as well as that of information, communication, technology and innovation.
In the past, these committees were dominated by Swapo members due to their overall majority in parliament, a scenario Venaani said will not be happening this time around.
“Swapo want to use committee’s membership to appease their disgruntled members – and this time around, it will not happen,” said Venaani. Apart from serving as oversight bodies, parliamentary committees are also expected to consider matters referred to it by the National Assembly.
“Subject to the provisions of the constitution, particularly Article 63(2)(f) thereof, standing committees will perform the functions, tasks and duties relating to parliamentary supervision of such offices, ministries, agencies or state-owned enterprises and parastatals as prescribed by or under an act of parliament,” reads the standing rules and order.
2020-07-08 10:12:28 | 1 months ago