Katjavivi criticised for ‘electioneering’ in Parliament

13 Feb 2019 20:30pm
WINDHOEK, 13 FEB (NAMPA) – Speaker of the National Assembly (NA), Peter Katjavivi came under heavy criticism from official opposition leader McHenry Venaani for allegedly using his position for electioneering purposes when he heaped praise on President Hage Geingob on Wednesday.
Katjavivi’s statements followed Geingob’s officially opening of the Ninth Session of the Sixth Parliament, something that did not sit well with the opposition.
“Let me also take this opportunity to amplify the words of the United Nations Secretary General (António Guterres) who commended you for your wise leadership, both at home and abroad. Indeed, the world is taking note of your wise council,” he said.
He continued: “As you preside over the affairs at home, as you deal with some of the issues confronting us, in our region, the Southern African Development Community (SADC); on the continental level; as well as beyond the continent of Africa, as a country, we derive joy from your exemplary leadership. I think we need to acknowledge that and simply say, well done Mr President.”
Katjavivi’s statement was followed by ululation and a standing ovation by some of those in attendance.
According to Venaani, Katjavivi overstepped his boundaries and the Speaker cannot say Geingob did a great job when Guterres was never in Namibia.
“He has not addressed the question of Zimbabwe, which is reeling from violence. The silent diplomacy of SADC is not helping Zimbabwe in any way. So why would I stand up and clap hands?” Venaani said.
Katjavivi, he went on to say, abused his position and the publicity of the event to campaign for Geingob, who is one the presidential candidates for this year’s election.
“The Speaker is very adamant in trying to raise the profile of the president. He started campaigning in the house. You don’t do that,” a clearly agitated Venaani told reporters.
Namibia’s National Assembly and Presidential Elections are set for November.
Venaani added that he is not against Geingob getting credit where such is due, “but not on frivolous things”.
Approached for comment on Venaani’s remarks, Swapo Secretary General Sophia Shaningwa declined to comment.