MPs should represent the poor

10 Feb 2016 11:10am
WINDHOEK, 10 FEB (NAMPA) - Debates held in the National Assembly (NA) and National Council (NC) should be raised and directed towards improving democratic institutions mandated to uphold the values of the Namibian Constitution.
Officially opening the Third Session of the Sixth Parliament here on Tuesday, President Hage Geingob said Members of Parliament (MPs) are expected to speak and argue on behalf of the people, guided by the Namibian Constitution, their interest and their conscience, as they carry the hopes and fears of the nation.
Namibia on Tuesday also celebrated the 26th Constitution Day, which marks the coming into force of the Namibian Constitution after independence in 1990.
Following the Parliamentary Elections in 1989, a total of 72 candidates from different political parties qualified to gain seats in the Constituent Assembly that was tasked to draw up the Namibian Constitution.
A selection of 21 political party candidates drafted the document that could be considered as the beacon of liberty, equality and fraternity in an independent Namibia, where every citizen has an equal opportunity to a prosperous life.
Geingob thus highlighted the role parliament can play in the war against the “crippling scourge” of poverty, saying those elected should represent the voices of the poor and the disadvantaged people.
“In the context of preserving our constitutional values that we are lauded for in the international community, three things are of importance, namely processes, systems and institutions.
“Firstly, we need processes that are inclusive and transparent. We need processes that will instil confidence in our democracy, and that will minimise the risks of rumour mongering conspiracy theory.”
Elaborating on the importance of systems in contributing to constitutional values, Geingob said there is a need for robust systems to ensure that service delivery is not compromised.
“When all else fails, we need strong institutions that will have the final say,”he said.
Geingob noted that when opposition parties disputed the 2009 General Election results, “the systems continued to function smoothly, while the challenge was taken to court,” and thus constitutional values were preserved.
The opening of Parliament was also attended by MPs, the judiciary, legislative and executive branches, and members of the public.