MPs feel unsafe
April 30, 2015, 8:23am
MPs feel unsafe
By Shinovene Immanuel
MEMBERS of parliament do not only want a new parliament building and a housing complex but they are also demanding security upgrades because they are not safe and feel prone to be attacked by angry citizens.
Demands for security upgrades were started by DTA of Namibia president McHenry Venaani who complained about the lack of proper safety in the National Assembly. While Venaani demanded security upgrades, other MPs reacted to criticism of planned apartments and new parliament saying “Namibians like talking” and that the plans should not be delayed because they “fought for the country”.
Speaking during the budget vote of the National Assembly, on Tuesday night, Venaani spoke about the safety of parliamentarians saying the place is not secured enough.
“We must make sure that we increase our security here. National leaders are sitting here,” said Venaani, adding that there are angry people out there who might attack them while in the chamber. “You never know,” he said.
Land reform minister Utoni Nujoma interjected Venaani and told him that people are not necessarily angry, as he put it.
In fact, according to Nujoma, Namibians are more welcoming. He reminded Venaani about his publicity campaign tactic last year when he had a three-day stay at the Ombili informal settlement of Katutura.
Before answering Nujoma and explaining more on his demands for better security, Venaani was again stopped from continuing by the deputy minister in the Presidency responsible for the physically challenged people, Alexia Manombe-Ncube.
Manombe-Ncube asked the DTA president whether he was not exposing the leaders to security threats by raising his concerns on a public platform which was also aired live on national television. Venaani agreed and ended his demands there. Even though he stopped, most members of parliament, especially, those from the ruling party agreed with the opposition party leader.
Last week Venaani was told that the National Assembly was in the process of finalising the installation of access control and security cameras in and around the parliament building.
The discussion of security upgrades was later linked to a debate on the new parliament and proposed construction of apartments for lawmakers.
Rally for Democracy and Progress member of parliament Agnes Limbo complained that lawmakers deserve working space since they do not have enough offices.
“What is happening here is not what is happening in other countries,” she said.
She requested that the construction of the parliament building be done without delay or the government will pay more money in the future for the same project.
RDP once criticised the “Swapo led government” for building a new N$630 million parliament which they said was proof that the ruling party has lost its purpose and objective.
Gender equality minister Doreen Sioka said the construction of a new parliament building was being implemented now because the MPs fought for the country. They cannot be told that it is not the right time to construct multi-million dollar projects, she said.
“We were fighting the war night and day. Why should we be told it's not the right time?” Sioka said.
Deputy information minister Stanley Simaata also joined the fray.
“The project, by the way, is long overdue. We cannot continue to operate like in the Stone Age era,” Simaata, who worked at parliament before becoming a deputy minister, said.
He admitted that the government will be paying beyond what they planned several years ago.
“We are paying the consequences of delaying the project. We must stop being emotional and opportunistic (about the proposed new parliament),” Simata said.
Agriculture minister John Mutorwa said the proposed buildings will not be owned by individual MPs but by the state. He said the apartments can even be leased out by the National Assembly to interested parties to make money or be used to accommodate foreign dignitaries.
Government is not only building the new parliament but also building the Southern African Development Community Parliamentary Forum building.