MPs familiarising themselves with Constitutional Amendment Bill

06 Aug 2014 15:00pm
WINDHOEK, 06 AUG (NAMPA) – The National Assembly (NA) has gone on recess until 12 August in order for Members of Parliament (MP) to familiarise themselves with the Namibian Constitution Third Amendment Bill of 2014.
The Minister of Presidential Affairs and Attorney-General, Albert Kawana tabled the Third Amendment Bill to the Namibian Constitution in Parliament last Thursday.
The proposed amendments were scrutinised by opposition parties and civil organisations, which however had little effect because of the Swapo-Party’s two-thirds majority.
The Deputy Secretary of the NA, Findley Harker told Nampa on Tuesday the recess was necessary in order to give MPs time to peruse the Bill and highlight some of the changes they want to make to the Constitution.
“Political parties have advisors, thus during this time they can take the Bill to their constituencies, familiarise themselves with the content, and see how the changes made to the Constitution will affect them. So this is the time for them to prepare themselves for the debates that will start next week,” he explained.
Meanwhile Swanu of Namibia president Usutuaije Maamberua whose party objected to the tabling of the Bill said in an interview on Wednesday that he is planning on proposing next week that the amendments be referred to a parliamentary ad-hoc committee.
“I took a vow to uphold the Constitution and continue to defend it for the sake of the people. The people have not spoken, they were side-lined and ignored. We are not above the will of the people,” he said, adding that Namibians deserve to be consulted on fundamental issues of this nature.
He noted that a consultation process on something as important as the country’s Constitution should take at least a year to ensure that all stakeholders such as traditional authorities, public and private industries, young people, mothers, civil society organisations and unions participate in its crafting.
“If Parliament is going to force these amendments down our throats and adopt the Bill as an Act, Swanu will have no choice but to object against it once again,” Maamberua indicated.
Amongst others, the Bill proposes the amendment of Article 32 of the Constitution for the creation of an office for a Vice-President, and seeks to re-arrange the hierarchy of succession.
It also makes provision for the president to appoint the head of intelligence services and for an increase in the composition of the National Assembly from 72 to 96 members.