Windhoek March 20 -The 7th Parliament got off to a heated and somewhat confrontational start today. There were tantrums, arguments and heated exchanges as Parliament began today to elect the Speaker and Deputy Speaker for the next 5 years.
For the first time in 30 years there was a division in the house, which meant that the National Assembly Speaker had to be elected through a secret vote. The SWAPO Party’s Saara Kugongelwa had initially nominated Prof Peter Katjavivi for re-election as Speaker of Parliament.
In an unexpected turn, Popular Democratic Movement’s Vipuakue Muharukua nominated Dudu Murorua (UDF) to oppose Katjavivi. Katjavivi initially won the Speaker position with 64 votes to 31 of Murorua with one member abstaining. The election was not without discrepancies as the Opposition argued on the location of the secret booth for voting and later complained about a suspected SWAPO party Official handling ballot papers in the chamber.
In his acceptance speech, National Assembly Speaker Peter Katjavivi promised “to uphold the rules of the house and to be impartial towards all members of parliament despite their parties and political differences”. He further “encouraged politics of consensus to prevail in the house and urged members to be tolerant of others views”.
In the same seating, Loide Kasingo was also re-elected as a Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, she defeated Elma Dienda (PDM) who was nominated by McHenry Venaani (PDM). Deputy Speaker Loide Kasingo was voted by 64 members to the 32 members who voted for. Kasingo thanked the house for re-electing her and encouraged the members to focus on the business of the house and serve the people of the republic.
Elma Dienda in return declared that she was the best candidate even if she didn’t win, she thanked the Opposition parties for voting for her and also thanked the “members of the ruling party who voted for her in their hearts”.
Compiled by Joseph Tobias