National Council gives National Assembly ultimatum

13 Dec 2018 17:00pm
WINDHOEK, 13 DEC (NAMPA) – The National Council (NC) has given the National Assembly an ultimatum to pass the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) Bill of 2015, or it will be forced not to review bills referred to it until their demand is met.
The Bill - which in its purest form seeks channel money from central government directly to electoral constituencies for local infrastructure projects - was submitted to the National Assembly for tabling in 2015.
However, to this day, the Bill is yet to see the light of day, something which is now a bone of contention.
The feeling in the NC is so bad, to the extent that they think their fellow Parliamentarians in the National Assembly (NA) do not take them seriously.
These were the sentiments by several Members of Parliament (MPs) in the NC on Thursday.
Speaking to Nampa outside the NC chambers, Swapo’s Bernard Sibalatani expressed disappointment in his compatriots in the lower chamber of Namibia’s bicameral Parliament.
“We are saying as the majority of this house that if we don’t know where or what the stance of our CDF Bill is, let the National Assembly not forward their bills here until ours is tabled there,” Sibalatani said.
The former Zambezi governor stressed that with powers vested in them through Article 74 of the Namibian Constitution, they can table bills based on regional concerns.
“We went around the country and it appeared that the budget given to regional councils through our line ministry is not for capital projects. It is to pay salaries and take care of office administration,” he said.
He said if other countries like Zambia and Kenya have been able to implement the CDF, why could Namibia not do the same.
“The aim of the fund is that not everything should be requested from central government. For example, drilling of a borehole or extension of a water pipeline could be done within the constituency’s allocation,” he said.
His sentiments were shared by fellow Swapo MP, Lebbius Tobias who said they have been taken for granted by their counterparts.
“The colleagues are not taking us serious,” he said.
Like Sibalatani, he asked: “Why should the NA always send their bills and they want us to pass them. But when we came up with a bill, it is dormant?”
NC chairperson, Margaret Mensah-Williams indicated in the NC chambers on the same day that they will be forced to rope in President Hage Geingob should the situation persist.
“There is something wrong and we need to ask what it is that some people don’t want that Bill. They should come out clearly. Be courageous enough!”
Mensah-Williams added: “We follow this up with the line minister, then the Prime Minister who is the person in charge of Government business in Parliament. If nothing is done, then we will go up to the President.”