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PM condemns opposition dishonesty over amendments

2014-08-15  Mathias Haufiku

PM condemns opposition dishonesty over amendments

WINDHOEK - Prime Minister, Dr Hage Geingob, has blasted minority parties who claim they were not consulted before the present Third Constitutional Amendment Bill was tabled in parliament.

At the same time, Geingob also expressed disappointment over allegations that the constitution is being amended for his benefit.

Geingob minced no words during Wednesday’s debate in the National Assembly, and indicated that it will be hard for him to trust dishonest opposition parties in future for any consultations.

Some of the minority parties that claim they were not consulted include the Congress of Democrats (CoD) and the Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP)

“Do you really expect me to trust you in future after showing how dishonest you are by trying to mislead the nation that you were never consulted? I even have the invitation letters, which were sent to you, yet you claim no consultations were done,” he said.

Geingob insists he held highly successful consultations with the various political parties and the issue was explained and discussed with them thoroughly and their input was incorporated.

Apart from consultations with President Hifikepunye Pohamba and members of Cabinet, Geingob also had consultations with Swapo, the Speaker, DTA, RDP, RP, Nudo, APP, CoD, Swanu and UDF, he explained on Wednesday.  

Ill-mannered child

Geingob also had harsh words for RDP MP Heiko Lucks, who accused him of pushing his own agenda.

Lucks on Tuesday said: “This [is] a Shanghala-Geingob Bill... It must be classified as a private members’ bill authored by two people to promote personal interests. The Minister of Justice told me here in the National Assembly that the Law Reform and Development Commission (LRDC) does not have commissioners. Now I ask, who drew up this Bill if the LRDC had no commissioners? It clearly had no mandate, authority or legal standing to do so. It is clear that this Bill was drawn up by an individual under orders of another individual - this makes the whole process highly suspicious,” charged Lucks.

Geingob on his part responded, “I never saw such an ill-mannered child like you. “Saying this is a Shanghala-Geingob Bill and claiming that your party was never consulted, you owe me an apology.”

Lucks, however, refused to apologise.

“We talked as Namibians during the consultations but when we are in parliament you say you were not consulted,” said a clearly disappointed Geingob.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday evening during a public information-sharing session on the constitutional amendments held at the Katutura Community Hall, Geingob questioned the motive of civil society organisations that are fronting the demonstrations against the proposed constitutional amendments.

“We have been elected to represent the people, but where do they [civil society] derive their mandate from? The civil society in Namibia, it seems, is everything-based and not issue-based like others,” said Geingob.

For those who wish to take the legal route in an effort to have the Amendment Bill withdrawn, Geingob had this to say: “Namibia is a sovereign state, we are not a United Nations Trustee, so you are wasting your time.”

“These people from these civic organisations are all failed politicians who are now attempting to get in through the backdoor,” he hit back at critics.

“Some people are simply misinformed and are being misled by those who are intent to raise feelings of discontent for their own objectives.

“There is talk of dragging government to court. Let me tell you that these matters are currently being debated in parliament and, therefore, to talk of taking government to court is incorrect since two arms of government cannot interfere with each other,” he explained at the meeting in Katutura.

Whites too are Namibians

Geingob also took time to answer some questions during the public consultation, a platform he used to defend the status of white Namibians after a member of the public asked for land to be forcefully taken from the white community.

“We want to maintain peace and be fair to everybody. Are we saying that because they are white they stole the land? We must remember that white Namibians have the same rights as black Namibians. We cannot grab land just because someone is white,” stated the Prime Minister.

“We will have war if we grab land without following procedures,” he told proponents of the land grab.

“If we had done it in the beginning it would have been better but we did not have two-thirds at the time, otherwise we would have taken drastic action and nobody would have questioned that. White people also have the right to own property,” he said.

Geingob also touched on the issue of resettlement, which he said was done wrongly.

“I am saying this because we bought productive farms and resettled people wrongly on those farms. Some of the people are even starving on those farms, we do not want to repeat this mistake,” he said.

“If Swapo made a mistake with these amendments, punish us at the polls in November.” 

By Mathias Haufiku

2014-08-15  Mathias Haufiku

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