WINDHOEK, 18 MAR – Speaker of the National Assembly, Professor Peter Katjavivi has slammed assertions that he is not standing up for the interest of Parliament.
He was responding to Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) lawmaker, Mike Kavekotora who said in the National Assembly (NA) on Thursday allocations for parliamentary standing committees’ services is consistently being revised downward and Katjavivi is doing nothing about it.
According to Kavekotora, the committees’ budget was slashed from N.dollars 14 million in the 2015/16 financial year (FY) to N.dollars 5 million in the current FY.
“It looks like the Minister of Finance [Calle Schlettwein] is on a mission to effectively destroy parliament and the parliamentary service, or the Speaker is not standing up for the interest of Parliament,” said the RDP secretary-general.
He claimed Schlettwein and/or Katjavivi have their eyes on saving on travel allowances, instead of the constitutional mandates of parliamentary standing committees.
“That is wrong and you must address this house on how either you or the minister of finance agreed to this cut, and explain how the parliamentary committee services can function and fulfil its mandate,” he told Katjavivi.
Kavekotora heads the parliamentary committee on public accounts.
The accusations were not taken lightly by a combative Katjavivi, who, during the dame session, asked why he would sabotage the work Parliament.
“Why should I sit here and preside over an instruction and anything that may undermine this house?” Katjavivi questioned.
A clearly irate Katjavivi went on: “Am I such a character of questionable credentials? The honourable member is fully aware that that is not my character.”
Katjavivi, who rarely gets annoyed in the NA, said it was time for him to address the “elephant in the room”.
“When you provoke me, you will get what you are looking for, and you’ll get it as fast as a rocket,” he said, as deafening silence fell on the chamber.
Katjavivi, however, maintained that he holds Kavekotora in high regard, saying: “But he [Kavekotora] has a tendency of sometimes trying to get under your skin”, adding that he would not succumb to such tactics.
Katjavivi said the cuts to the parliamentary committee services was enjoying his attention.
“I am not yet done and as far as I am concerned, the budget of our committees must by revised, and I am seeking the attention of the line minister to achieve that,” said Katjavivi.