WINDHOEK, 13 JUN – Debate in the National Assembly (NA) on Tuesday degenerated to a war of words between parliamentarians after Attorney-General (AG) Albert Kawana said opposition parties have no mandate or voice to represent Namibians.
Kawana premised his reasoning on the fact that the official opposition, the Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) only has five members in the NA.
“You are just five. How can you speak on behalf of Namibians,” Kawana asked PDM’s Treasurer General Nico Smit, who attempted to bring a halt to the ongoing fishing rights application process.
Smit wanted to know why the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources was conducting public consultations on the fishing rights, while requirements for these rights were already gazetted.
He argued that the PTY (Ltd) requirement excludes the poor and vulnerable Namibians from participating in the much-sought-after rights.
Smit’s assertion was however rubbished by Fisheries Minister, Bernhardt Esau, who responded that the PTY (Ltd) requirement was to protect poor Namibians as opposed to excluding them.
Kawana then stepped in: “For PDM to come here and represent our people when there are only five of them, the two are absent and now they want to speak on behalf of this nation.”
This did not sit well with PDM’s Vipuakuje Muharukua, who claimed that unlike Kawana, who serves in Parliament at the behest of President Hage Geingob, he was elected by over 44 000 Namibians.
“I was voted for by 44 000 Namibians. He is voted for by one person. He is at the mercy of the President,” said Muharukua, adding that if the AG fell out with Geingob, he would be shown the door.
“You can brag about having the numbers. But what does it help to have 90 people in Parliament who do not contribute meaningfully? Mr Kawana, count your words. Don’t insult us, we can insult better,” said Muharukua before storming out of the NA chamber.
On his part, Swanu Parliamentarian Usutuaije Maamberua expressed that Kawana’s words were tantamount to insulting the Namibian Constitution.
“Our democracy is a constitutional democracy. You cannot come here and insult our Constitution. We are here as equal members,” demanded Maamberua.