"Hage Geingob-Sacky Shanghala Bill" now in the NA

12 Aug 2014 19:40pm
WINDHOEK, 12 AUG (NAMPA) - Discussions on the Third Constitutional Amendment Bill commenced in the National Assembly (NA) on Tuesday afternoon on a controversial note, with the RDP calling it a “one man-made document”.
Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) Member of Parliament (MP) Heikko Luks also christened the Bill the “Hage Geingob-Sacky Shanghala Bill”, which, according to him, will only serve the ambitious political reasons, gains and interests of the ruling Swapo-Party.
“The Law Reform and Development Commission of Namibia (LRDC) has no mandate to draw up or draft this Third Constitutional Amendment Bill, because this commission has been without commissioners for the past few years now. This document was drawn up or drafted by someone who was acting on the instructions and mandate of someone else,” he charged, without specifying who.
Luks was, however, forced to withhold mentioning the name of Shanghala from his statement after strong interjections by Deputy Minister of Gender Equality and Child Welfare Angelika Muharukua, who said Shanghala's name cannot be mentioned in the NA because he is not a MP.
Shangala is the chairperson of Law Reform and Development Commission since 2010.
Luks continued saying the Bill cannot be debated in the NA at the present moment, because there was no public consultation on the proposed changes to the Namibian Constitution before the Bill was tabled in the House.
“The Swapo-Party led Government is misleading the Namibian nation by saying there were wide and proper consultations with members of the public and civil society organisations before this Third Constitutional Amendment Bill was tabled in the NA over the past few weeks. This document should be withdrawn from the debates and discussions of the NA with no further delays,” said the RDP politician.
Speaking on a point of order, Finance Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila charged that Luks wants to misinform and mislead the Namibian nation by telling the people that the “Swapo-led Government has now lost focus in terms of proper governing the country”.
She said it was unfair of Luks to imply that no consultations on the proposed changes to the Constitution took place, adding that he is fully aware that such consultations with members of the public and civil society organisations have indeed taken place all over the country.
Speaking on a point of information on the same proposed constitutional changes, Minister of Youth, National Sports and Culture, Jerry Ekandjo almost had the majority of opposition MPs raising from their seats when he said the “present Constitution they (opposition) are now jealously defending is a Swapo-Party drafted Constitution in real terms”.
Swanu of Namibia president Usutuaije Maamberua then requested Ekandjo to withdraw his insinuations that the Namibian Constitution is a Swapo-drafted one.
He echoed Luks’ sentiments that the proposed changes should be send back to the people of Namibia to allow for proper consultations to take place.
“The people of Namibia were not properly consulted before this Third Constitutional Amendment Bill was brought and tabled before the National Assembly,” said the Swanu leader, while at same time advising his fellow MPs not to politicize debates on the Bill.
Discussions continue in the NA on Wednesday afternoon.
Meanwhile, members and supporters of a coalition of Namibian civil society organisations staged a peaceful demonstration against the proposed amendments to the Namibian Constitution from 13h00 on Tuesday afternoon.
The envisaged demonstration took place at Parliament Gardens, just a few metres from the NA building where the Bill was under discussion.
The planned demonstration was particularly aimed at convincing members of the NA to withdraw the Third Constitutional Amendment Bill, and to help provide the Namibian citizens and members of the civil society with the opportunity to provide input into the process, which could irrevocably change the future of the Namibian nation.
Amongst the over 40 changes, the Third Constitutional Amendment Bill proposes the amendment of Article 32 of the Constitution for the creation of an office for a vice-president, and seeks to rearrange the hierarchy of succession.
It also makes provision for the president to appoint the head of the Intelligence Services, and for an increase in the composition of the National Assembly from 72 to 96 members.