Katjavivi defends new Parliament building

09 Feb 2016 19:40pm
WINDHOEK, 09 FEB (NAMPA) – President Hage Geingob says fresh debate is needed in Parliament on the construction of a new Parliament building.
Speaking during the official opening of the Third Session of the Sixth Parliament at Parliament Gardens here on Tuesday, Geingob said he received numerous messages from people imploring him to halt the construction of the new Parliament building.
Media reports in January 2014 indicated that a feasibility study which was commissioned by the National Assembly (NA) estimated that government would have to fork out N.dollars 700 million for the construction.
The president made reference to the three organs of the State – the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary - saying each of these organs has to act independently as they provide for checks and balances in the country’s democracy.
He said the Executive (the Presidency and Cabinet) cannot interfere with the Legislature (National Assembly and National Council), just as the Legislature cannot interfere in the day-to-day operations of the Executive or the Judiciary (the Supreme Court, High Court, and Lower Courts).
“This separation of powers dictates that the building of a new Parliament is a matter of the Legislature and not of the Executive,” he said.
On his part, Speaker of the National Assembly Peter Katjavivi said with the increase in the number of Members of Parliament (MPs) in both Houses of Parliament, it has become impossible to accommodate everyone within the National Assembly Chambers during events that bring both Houses of Parliament together.
The two Houses are the National Council and the National Assembly.
Katjavivi said the proposed new Parliament building will create a better working environment, where both Houses of Parliament can work efficiently together.
“Members of the National Assembly have increased from 78 to 104, while those of the National Council have increased from 26 to 42. As a result of this, we also have a deficit of office space for the parliamentarians and support staff, as well as a lack of secure vehicle parking slots.
“Therefore, we cannot escape the need for an appropriate national Parliament building in line with other key installations of vital significance to national governance in the country,” he said.