This is in response to an article dated February 15 2019 in New Era newspaper titled: “Venaani wants action on deadwood MPs”.
A recent study by the Hansard Society reported that MPs spend a full 49 percent of their time on constituency work as part of their Parliamentary oversight function. The study concluded that backbenchers in Parliament spend more than half of their time and energy looking away from Parliament, ceasing their opportunity to partake in Parliamentary Committees.
The committee system ensures smooth functioning of the legislature by building consensus on critical issues and examining issues in detail. MPs, in particular, backbenchers are pillars of these committees. The notion that MPs do not participate in Parliament is hogwash and should be shunned. For the leader of the official opposition to utter such a statement is a shock. The leader of the official opposition should be aware that all Parliamentary Standing Committees consist of members from each political party represented in Parliament, to adhere to the constitutional principle of proportionate representation. Each member who is part of the committee gives an opinion and that forms part of a well-researched and professionally compiled report from activity of these committees.
Parliament, being the apex institution in a democracy, deal with a large number of issues concerning the nation - political, economic, social, national security, foreign policy, science and technology, amongst others. Therefore, committees have been constituted primarily to share the responsibility. Committees have become indispensable in Parliamentary activities as they carry out various functions required for normal and effective functioning of Parliament.
PDM is in Parliament so they cannot selectively remove themselves from the collective responsibility of Parliament. If the leader of the official opposition suggests that Parliament is ineffective – that speaks volumes of his leadership. Regardless of the differences as political parties, I believe that we have a common goal, which is to steer Namibia to be a great country. We take all contributions to the debate in Parliament in that spirit.
PDM should be cognisant of the process of making laws that is not one that should be taken lightly. As Parliament we have taken a decision that parliamentarians needed to be workshopped on all new bills being proposed, to fully appreciate and be able to make meaningful contributions, as we are not all jack-of-all-trades. Similarly, we have bills that have been endorsed by the then DTA and the colonial government which continue to affect the day-to-day life of Namibians. Law making require patience, it is therefore our collective responsibility to ensure that no bill goes through parliament either by rushing to make a law or shortsightedness of the future. It is therefore my wish and hope that the leader of the official opposition does not insult the intelligence of his electorate in confirming to them that their choice as a leader is criticizing the very body they entrusted to him. PDM seem to criticize and complain rather than providing solutions. Parliament is for all Namibians and not only Swapo, we therefore encourage the PDM to provide solutions in Parliament and not run to the media and apply the proverbial pot calling the kettle black syndrome.
The Office of the Swapo Party Chief Whip continues to strengthen and organise our MPs to be effective and seasoned national leaders through:
Capacity Building Workshops
Language Proficiency Workshop
Appointment of a Researcher
The Chief Whips Research and Advisory Committee
We should note that nobody is born a lawmaker, however these are leaders elected by their community to represent the interest of its community and we do not discriminate against the background of our members. They remain the voice of the electorate who put them here and we should respect them to carry the views of those people.
Swapo Party Chief Whip
New Era Reporter
2019-02-22 09:19:05 4 months ago