PM and Maamberua at each other's throats in NA

02 Nov 2018 11:40am
WINDHOEK, 02 NOV (NAMPA) – Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila on Thursday refused an order by National Assembly Speaker Peter Katjavivi to retract remarks she made to another parliamentarian which he felt were derogatory and demeaning.
Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said during a heated debate in the House that Swanu is “intolerant and inflexible” while pointing at its member, Usutuaije Maamberua.
Maamberua then rose on a point of order and wanted her to withdraw her statement.
Katjavivi stepped in and told Kuugongelwa-Amadhila that Swanu and Maamberua are two separate entities.
“Swanu is an organisation,” he said.
Kuugongelwa-Amadhila withdrew her blanket statement, saying she was in fact referring to Maamberua and not Swanu in its entirety.
“Yes, you are intolerable,” Kuugongelwa-Amadhila told Maamberua.
In Maamberua’s eyes this was an infringement on his dignity and he wanted the Prime Minister to retract her statement.
Chaos then erupted in the National Assembly, with both Maamberua and Kuugongelwa-Amadhila standing and talking over each other while members of the ruling Swapo party back the Premier on her stance.
“She is now degrading my person. Do you allow a member to degrade the person of another member? It tells me that you are not a person of good character,” Maamberua said while pointing at the PM, who burst into laughter.
Katjavivi unsuccessfully tried to calm emotions in the House.
“I don’t want an impression that an expression was said and left hanging like that. It will not do well to the harmony of the House in the long run,” the Speaker cautioned.
Kuugongelwa-Amadhila was, however, not in the mood to entertain Maamberua’s demand.
“I will not withdraw. But I will say I extend a hand of friendship to the colleague there (pointing at Maamberua) and I am not going to use that terminology anymore,” she said.
It was at this point that the Popular Democratic Movement’s Vipuakuje Muharukua joined the fray, saying the PM disregarded the Speaker’s order.
“There is a point of order in the rules for withdrawal. The Speaker has not ruled, and the Prime Minister has decided that she is going to do what she wants to do,” Muharukua yelled.
To this, Katjavivi said: “That attitude will not take you far. I am addressing the right honourable Prime Minister to conclude and to, in a very dignified way, withdraw that expression so (that) we calm things.”
Maamberua, out of frustration at Katjavivi’s failure to reprimand the former finance minister, rose again: “No! I will not allow my person to be degraded. Sorry! Full stop!”
According to the PM, Maamberua was simply crying foul.
“This honourable member (Maamberua) persistently in this house attacks the character of other people and is allowed to get away with it,” she fumed.
Instead, she rose to lecture Maamberua and defined the word intolerable from a dictionary.
“Intolerable means too difficult; annoying and the list goes on. If I say you are difficult, is that an insult?” the PM asked before taking her seat.
With the situation seemingly out of hand, Katjavivi resolved to end the argument.
“We will look carefully in the summary (of the proceedings). The summary will indicate to us precisely (what each person said) and on that basis I will deal with that issue next Tuesday.”